When arriving at a hospital, there is a clear distinction between who is there to provide care and who is in need of care. The wounded are usually lying down, wearing odd hospital gowns, and tethered to some kind of pole for monitoring their vital signs or for IV fluids.
Pretend for a second that you entered a hospital named Grace. As you get into your bed (or are carried to your bed), you glance around to see other patients and wonder if their condition is worse than yours.
Imagine if our hospital beds were next to each other. We briefly make eye contact, share a short smile, and wait for each other to make small talk. No matter your condition or mine, the reality is that we are both broken. We are both fighting for a healthier future, hurting in our own ways.
This hospital, named Grace, is where the broken, hurting, disillusioned, weak, and spiritually emancipated ache for healing. We’re both keenly aware of the help we need, even if we’re not sure how to describe or even understand the pain we’re in right now.
Here we are, next to each other, not knowing exactly the level of pain or fear we may each be facing. I want to help you, but I understand that I don’t know all the answers to make you well. What I do know, with certainty, is that this hospital of Grace has the best physician the world will ever know because He has helped me, too. As C.S. Lewis aptly put it in a letter to his once hurting friend, “Think of me as a fellow patient in the same hospital who, having been admitted a little earlier, may be able to give some advice.”
At Grace, you are right where you belong. Here, no one is condemned for their cloud of depression, their fog of confusion, or their storm of anxiety. It is only inside Grace where you can experience the healing power needed to bring peace to your pain and hope for your loss.
I understand depression and anxiety. I am far more familiar with them than I would like to be. I have begged God to somehow supernaturally remove this dark cloud that lingers over my head from time-to-time. However, for some sovereign reason I may never understand this side of Heaven, God continues to allow me to feel overwhelming emotions that cause grief, often disproportionate to my circumstances. Though I have asked Him to take it away entirely for some purpose, He has not. Yet, He has provided me with seasons of solace in the midst of sadness.
I have learned to rest in my present suffering by clinging to the peace of Christ.
As a fellow patient in the hospital of Grace, I would love nothing more than for you to also know peace in the midst of your pain. My hope is that as you battle your own overwhelming feelings you will remember a few vital truths:
- You are not alone in your sadness. There are many godly men and women who have gone before us, in the Bible and in the centuries since, who grappled with the reality that God is good even when we are overwhelmed by sadness and don’t feel His goodness. Think about the agony of biblical characters like David, Hannah, Jeremiah, Elijah, or Job, who said statements like, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him” (Job 13:15). You are not alone.
- God has answers in His Word that will bring you comfort. Our good and gracious God comes close to you through the practical application of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the steadfast presence of the Holy Spirit. We can draw near to the throne of grace and find comfort every single day (Hebrews 4:16).
- Depression can come from a variety of sources and take on a million expressions, but each of us has a unique story and ache for hope. Yet, even in the vast array of our emotions, the core solution for a Christ-follower is to return home to be with Christ.
I know what it feels like to not want to do much of anything when dealing with depression (except maybe sleep, cry, or drink a chocolate shake), but please strive to be at home with Christ through the continual reading of God’s Word. Remember, that every day is the next step in a journey towards greater healing and hope if you will keep your focus on Christ. I assure you that a few minutes each day in the Bible can bring you hours of comfort and clarity that can turn into lasting seasons of joy.
At the hospital of Grace, hope is close than you think. Press in and press on.