When He Feels So Far Away

This depression thing has hung on to me like a plague. It started seeping in last Summer and grabbed on to every cell of my body and mind by the Fall. In the midst of my darkest times I have felt so utterly alone – in a dark cavern in the deep pits of the earth below it’s surface – kind of alone.

A friend from church embraced me one Sunday (when I actually made myself go, only because my husband was teaching) and said, “I don’t know why God feels so far away during times like these, when we need Him most, but I know it feels that way.” And it was such an amazing relief to hear a fellow sister in Christ acknowledging that He does, truly, feel so infinitely far away, even removed, in times of severe depression. It’s mind boggling really.

One of the tricks to feeling connected to God is to spend time with Him – to dive into His word, to pray, to meditate on His teachings and His love. But when you’re depressed, you simply can’t do these things. It feels like lifting a 2 ton truck to open your Bible. Some may argue that you can actually do these things, but I would argue that it sure feels like you can’t and that it may truly be a fact of the condition. If you are able to muster up the strength and lift that truck, the words may seem foreign or completely without meaning. Our brains simply can’t comprehend the writing on the page.

With a God as loving as ours, why then does He seem so distant in our darkest hour? I believe it’s the illness, not our God. I believe its the disease and not His actual absence. I believe that God isn’t pulling away from us, but our minds are running the other direction. I believe that He is ever present, but our cord of connection is cut by the illness. He is not to blame. We are not to blame. The illness can take all of it. The sickness of depression is strong and can carry that burden without any buckling of the knees. It’s okay, pile it on. It’s depression’s fault, entirely.

God knows we will be afraid and completely discouraged at times, so He tells us in His word that He is always with us, He will hold us and strengthen us. It doesn’t say that we can actually feel it, but that He is doing it, whether we feel it or not.

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Do Not Fear

He also knows that our own thinking can’t be trusted. That’s especially true for those of us battling mental health issues, but it’s true for everyone. That’s why he reminds us of this in the Bible. Our understanding and comprehension of all matters, including mental illness, is flawed. So we must trust in Him.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding…

It’s easier for me to talk about this today, as the worst part of this depressive episode seems like maybe, just maybe it is behind me. I’m not certain if I had read this post during the darkest times, that I would have been able to apply it or grab onto it. But I know it’s truth, it’s His truth, and I hope and pray that maybe it will get into the hands of someone who is suffering and that maybe it will give hope and light and shed truth on a time in which our head is full of lies.

I believe God truly does hold us when we feel most alone.

I leave you with one of my most favorite pieces of scripture. It truly is the picture of being pulled out of the pit of depression and set again on solid ground. Not only is this His word but it’s His promise. I have seen this promise fulfilled in my own life in the past and I hold onto it today as I put my trust in Him and not in my own understanding.

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.

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14 thoughts on “When He Feels So Far Away

  1. Pingback: I Felt Joy
  2. I’m Catholic although I don’t practice as much lately BUT I do believe in God. Depression is not easy and it can be very hard to deal with it. I’m sure believing and trusting God could help you to go through this bad path. I’m sure he is there taking care of you and all of us. Take care of yourself and be strong. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS, x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am not religious but I a few people in my family have suffered with depression. It really is awful and have seen people become so distant from the people they once were, no longer enjoying the things they once did or believing in things that they once felt so strongly. Although not a Christian myself I don’t find that first quote very reassuring. Take care and I hope you can come out the other side of this depression soon, with your faith completely restores.

    Thank you so much for linking this up to #KCACOLS. Hope to see you again next Sunday x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for visiting and reading and thoughtful may commenting, Wendy! I can understand why you would think that wasn’t a comforting response from my friend, but in the context of coming from someone who also suffers from mental health challenges it was something that felt reassuring that it’s not my fault for feeling far away from God. Sometimes there can be a pressure we put on ourselves that if we don’t feel it, it’s not there. I felt like I was off the hook…that it was ok to feel that way. That someone else got it. I hope that makes sense! Again, I appreciate your thoughts and well wishes. ❤️

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  4. depression is a horrible thing for anyone to deal with and can make you doubt yourself, others and god! I think recognising that it is the depression rather than your faith or others is the first step to being able to manage it! #KCACOLS

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  5. It absolutely is part of the disease! I realized that a couple months ago. This last episode was so bad I wasn’t sure if I was a Christian anymore, but as soon as my brain chemistry went back to normal I believed in God again. It was just so obvious and it’s been true in the past. It sucks that the disease takes away one of my main lifelines, but that’s the way it is. I hope now that I’ve verbalized and recognized that I will be able to keep that perspective next time, but then again warping perspective is also part of the disease.

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    1. Oh gosh, you said it exactly. I doubted my faith entirely for several weeks. It is a cruel symptom of the disease. We can certainly remind one another if another season like this comes again! Deal?

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