Restoration from Depression

#3 in Series on Psalm 23

“He restoreth my soul” (Psalm 23:3a).
Has depression invaded your life? Some hurt, failure, or sorrow you have been unable to successfully deal with? Depression usually results from a wrong response to trouble, though it may be caused by chemical imbalance. Regardless of the cause, there’s hope. Don’t give up. David says the Lord as his shepherd restored his soul. God can also restore your life even in the midst of trouble.

The Hebrew word translated “restoreth” was used by shepherds  for turning a “cast” sheep right side up. A “cast” sheep was on its back, unable to get up without help. It would vainly kick the air and bleat desperately for a while and then give up.

Growing up on the farm, my brother and I kept sheep. Dad said, “If you find a cast sheep, get it on its feet as soon as you can.” He explained that a cast sheep left overnight would not survive. The sheep would either die while cast, or lose it’s will to live and refuse to eat or drink if righted too late.

David makes a human application to “restoring cast sheep” in Psalm 42:5, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God…”

He knew that he was sometimes “cast down” like those pitiful sheep. Just as he as a faithful shepherd had been able to restore his cast sheep to their feet, the Lord, his shepherd, restored him to his feet when he was cast down in discouragement. Like sheep, our soul can be “cast down.”
Sometimes you may feel turned upside down, unable to get on your feet again. The Lord wants to shepherd you by lifting you out of the mire of depression and restoring joy and hope to your soul.
Depression can even happen to great Christians like Martin Luther, the leader of the reformation. On one occasion when he was in a period of deep depression, his wife, Katie, dressed in her black funeral apparel and came in where he was. He was startled and asked her who died. “God,” she replied. “The way you are acting, I am sure your God must have died.” Her act and words brought Luther to his senses. He saw his depression as a faithless reflection on the providential care of God and as such it was sin. He confessed his sin, prayed for a fresh supply of God’s grace and was soon back in good spirits again.

What can you do to recover from depression? Here are some suggestions:
(1) See your doctor to rule out any physical causes,
(2) Get sufficient food, water, exercise and rest,
(3) Count your blessings and praise God for them,
(4) Read the Bible, e.g. Psalms and the Gospel of John,
(5) Meditate on the cross & resurrection of Jesus for you,
(6) Ask God’s forgiveness for known sin, especially for your wrong response to trouble,
(7) Forgive those who hurt you (without an apology),
(8) Seek the fellowship of other Christians,
(9) Listen to good Christian music,
(10) Do something for someone else in need,
(11) Ask God to help you do what you ought to do, whether you want to or not. Right actions bring right emotions,
(12) Finally, believe and affirm, “Jesus is my shepherd. He restores my soul.” With God’s help, you can pull out of depression. Amen!

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