Regardless of the reasons for depression, we can learn much from embracing the experience. What’s more, we can ask God for insights that will move us closer to Him and into service toward others. However, if we stay stuck in our sadness for too long, we will miss out on joy. In a pop culture hit, Gotye sings, “You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness.” The writer of Ecclesiastes 1is clear that the time for joy and dancing is also part of God’s design.

I have known believers who think that being too happy in this life is a bad sign. This is not true! As long as that happiness is not an attempt to deny the realities of a broken world, our joy is a necessary gift from Him. The joy of the Lord is our strength and His promises should create an exuberant hope in us.

So how long should mourning and weeping last? How do we recognize the signs of unhealthy or ungodly depression? When we find ourselves asking these questions, it’s time to diligently seek godly counsel through God’s Word, through others, and through carefully listening to the Holy Spirit.

I am struck by the picture of God’s people responding to the rebuilding of the sacred temple in Ezra 3  As the new foundation was laid, the people praised and sang and gave a great shout. But many of the older people wept aloud when they compared it with the former temple and all its glory. Ezra 3:13 says that no one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy and the sound of weeping. It seems to me that both sounds, mixed together in chorus to God, are pleasing to Him.

We are stuck in the in-between where we feel both the loss of our original purpose and the joy of our present redemption. Ultimately, this lies at the foundation of our depression regardless of how it manifests itself in this life. We do right to seek relief, but never at the cost of asking deeper questions and gaining greater insights from our Wonderful Counselor.

May God give us the wisdom to respond to all of our emotions in a Christ-honoring way, even when that emotion is sadness or depression.

Copyright © 2013 Stephanie Husk, Director of Counseling Services, Corban University.

Publication date: April 11, 2013