March 15

Written by Bill Grandi on March 15th, 2023

I heard it again last night. Sometimes it is used offhandedly.  Sometimes it is used to stress a point. Sometimes it is used to bolster an opinion. Sometimes is is used to be mean, i.e. politically. And sometimes it is used sympathetically, to state a truth, a fact.

What is it?

The depression of young people and what is happening in our culture.

My heart hurts, it literally feels like it is going to break in half, shatter in little pieces, or come out of my chest whenever I read another story of a young person (or any person for that matter) who takes his/her own life. Depending on the circumstances, it is used to show the sadness of many young people (or adults), or to even show the tragic result of the COVID lock downs.

There is not a one of us who has not been affected by depression, either ours or someone we know. I have been blessed with a personality that has not been prone to it. I have those days where I’m blah, let’s call them “brown” days (and I can’t remember it lasting more than a day or two).  I’ve never had a day or a period of days that I can remember where the light seems to go out.  But after 50+ years as a pastor, I know many who have. I can remember as a very “green” youth pastor (I was 21 at the time) visiting someone in the mental wing of a hospital-someone I had just been laughing with a few days before. I certainly didn’t understand why “Jane” was in there, suffering from this new thing (to me) called depression. In my naivete I could not understand how one who calls themselves a Christian could have this issue. Let me tell you: I know now! I have met and dealt with and tried to help countless suffering from depression. I know a lot more now. It is, however, not the point of this devotion to go into all the reasons for it, etc.

What I have found out is depression is far more common that I ever knew. Even in the Bible.

There is a man in the Bible, his name is Elijah. In I Kings 19 he has a confrontation with the prophets of Baal. After his victory (a truly mountaintop experience), Jezebel threatens- no make that vows- to have him killed. He runs and finds himself under a tree in the desert bemoaning his fate and wallowing in his despondency. As he laments his lot in life and wishes to die, God does an amazing thing. No condemnation. No yelling and telling him to “buck it up.” Just the opposite: He comes alongside Elijah and feeds him and reassures him of His love and support.

I don’t know all the reasons why people fill with despair. There are many answers to that-their circumstances, their personality, their DNA-as a short list. But I. DO. KNOW. the God who cares, loves, and will stay with that person.

Don’t despair. Don’t give up. Don’t feel helpless and hopeless. If you do, please get help. But also know there is a God who loves you more than you know.


12 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    Depression can and does effect us all. Perhaps we don’t experience it directly, but we are all impacted. Lives disrupted, emotional pain and guilt that comes with the thought of what if I had only…

    I have lost several in my family to depression. There lives taken by their own hands. I would say more, but not on a public forum.

    What I will say and really simply reiterate, are the thoughts that you share. Doing nothing doesn’t help. Putting on a mask and making it through life is not living. If you find yourself in a place where you think that there is nothing else to give, find help. Find a place to volunteer. Find a place to make a difference. Nothing helps put things into perspective faster than helping to meet the needs of others. In doing so, often times our own needs are met.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I’m sorry to hear about the loss of family to depression. I don’t understand, and I guess no one does unless they experience that type of “down,” so I most definitely will not cast stones. But thanks for your input into making my thoughts more impactful. It means a lot coming from you.

  2. I do hope reminding others of Elijah’s experience with depression will help those who suffer from it realize they are never alone. God is with them, offering His unending love and His peace.
    Tough topic to tackle, Bill, but I’m glad you ventured out on these waters of life.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thanks Martha. I, too, hope that Elijah’s experience can help someone else. As for venturing out, it was most definitely a stretch, but one I needed and felt led to take. Again, thanks for your support.

  3. gail says:

    Depression is a tough issue to handle. Every situation is different, and not everyone is a believer. I have dealt with several different scenarios with different people facing difficult issues with depression or suicides. Praying and listening, loving, caring, and leaning on God, is all I know to do.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I think that is some of the issue with depression Gail. No two cases are a like. Sort of like PTSD. But you are right about praying, listening, loving, caring, and leaning on God.

  4. Kari Scare says:

    Studying Elijah was a turning point (one of many) years ago in my journey out of the pit of depression. It helped be understand that there is a physical component that needs addressed as well as a social one for healing depression, and God met those needs in Elijah. He met those needs in me, too. The Bible has quite a lot to say about mental struggles, and it offers a way through and out. I’m grateful for God’s leading through his word. He showed me how to climb out of the pit and struggle to victory over depression. I’m here to say it’s possible to overcome depression through the power of God.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thank you Kari. Your input is so important and so meaningful. As God did for you, He can do for others, if they want His help. I’m grateful He led you out that pit also. You are a great example of God’s power.

  5. I’m sorry to hear about the depression of young people. I hope that we can find ways to help them.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I, too, am sad to hear about the struggle so many have. The solution, I believe, is Jesus but that is something that very few want to hear. Thanks for coming by Frances.