Pit of Despair

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Faith sees best in the dark.

At its worst, depression can be a frightening, debilitating condition. Millions of people around the world live with depression. Many of these individuals and their families are afraid to talk about their struggles, and don't know where to turn for help. However, depression is largely preventable and treatable. Recognizing depression and seeking help is the first and most critical towards recovery.

In collaboration with WHO to mark World Mental Health Day, writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone tells the story of overcoming the "black dog of depression".

For more information on World Mental Health Day, please visit:
- Published on Oct 2, 2012

I love dogs, even black dogs. For me it is a "shadow of depression" that follows me. -eoa

The Pit of Despair

Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.

Psalm 143:7

All of us have experienced, “being down in the pits.” We have all faced challenging times when we have been depressed, “down in the dumps.” Many of the characters of the New and Old Testaments suffered difficult times when they were at a “low,” “at the bottom.” Moses had weaknesses and doubts; but God gave Moses a staff and his brother Aaron to help him. Moses was at the bottom when he broke the stone tablets of the “Ten Commandments.”

Elijah felt all alone and asked God to take his life when Elijah was in the cave of failure and dark depression. Jonah was trapped at the bottom, in the belly of a big fish, when he went in the opposite direction that God had told him to go. We are always on the bottom when we go in opposition to God.

Abraham had doubts when the angel told him that Sarah would have children; Sarah laughed at the notion. Likewise Zechariah scoffed at the angel when the angel announced the birth of John the Baptist by Elizabeth his aged wife. Jeremiah thought he was too young and Elizabeth and Zechariah thought they were too old; we are always filled with doubts.

David was in Adullam, a cave of depression when King Saul was seeking to take his life. Throughout David’s life he often wandered into the cave of depression even though he was favored by God.

Think of the depths of depression the Peter overcame from Peter’s three denials of Christ. Think of the doubts Thomas had on the Resurrection of Christ. They were both Forgiven and Saved by the Love and Grace of Jesus Christ. Paul must have felt that the bottom kept falling out beneath him every time he was on a shipwreck.

Jesus Christ was suffering in sorrow when he wept over Jerusalem, when he prayed at Gethsemane, when he forgave his persecutors when he was crucified and nailed to a cross.

All of us, at one time or another, will find ourselves in the “Pit of Despair.” But what actually is a “pit”? Often a pit is a trap that our enemy has dug for us to unwittingly fall in to! The enemy may be what we call the devil, temptation, lust, greed, selfishness, arrogance, pride, etc. Sometimes we need to recognize that the “enemy” is “US.” That sometimes we need to be saved from ourselves; that sometimes we actually dig our own pits and blindly jump in. We create our own problems of debt, drugs, alcoholism, cigarettes, envy, lies, adultery, just to name a few. “Temptation” is good bait, something that looks good, but we don’t see the “hook,” we are blinded and ignore the consequences of our actions. When we are caught, we are dangling on a string, but it is “sin” pulling our strings; we are no longer in control. We are then slaves to sin.

When we walk blindly, fall into a pit, and fall to the bottom, we are crushed by the fall, and then realize that we cannot get out; not by our own doing. We are slow to recognize that we need help. Like being caught and trapped in quicksand, the more we struggle to get out, the further we fall. The more we struggle, the deeper in the quagmire we become. We are buried over our head. At the bottom of the pit do we ever realize that we can still fall even further and further?

When we are at the perceived “bottom of the pit” we look up and we can see how far we have fallen. When we look up, it looks to be impossible to get back out! When we are at the bottom, when all of our problems are much greater than we are and all of our resources are low to non existent, when we reach this low we are overwhelmed with helplessness and hopelessness.

But even from the bottom of a pit, when you look up instead of down in defeat, you can see Light. When you look up from the bottom of the pit the Light may be dim, just a flicker, but you can see Light. This is the Light of God – Hope. Hope is alive. God is mighty to Save; and strong to provide.

Now you need to fall on to your knees and pray to God humbly and earnestly asking God for forgiveness. You look up to the Light and you wish, (you pray) that you are out of the darkness that you are basking and living in the Light. But how can you get there – your buried at the bottom and cannot help yourself to get out – it is beyond your strength and capability, beyond your power.

You cannot get out of the “pit” the cave of Adullam by yourself. You look up from the bottom of the pit and see the Light, the Light and the Way, the Light of God – this is hope – you pray.

Only through the Love of God, the Forgiveness of God, the Mercy of God, and the Grace of God can you be Saved from the pit! When you pray to God, He will send you a lifeline. Pray to God to “pull you up” out of the darkness, out of the “Pit of Despair.” God is much stronger than you, and God has the strength, and the will to pull you out of the pit! Let God be the One pulling your strings; not sin.

You may be in the Cave of Depression right now, but remember that God does some of his best work in caves* – that Jesus was born in a cave, in a manger for animals; and in an empty tomb, in the Resurrection of Christ. Don’t let your pride and arrogance hold you back. Bend your knees. Surrender yourself to God. Pray to God, the Holy Father, right now! Don’t hesitate; don’t wait!

Love lifted me!
Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.

May the Peace of God that is transcends all understanding,
Peace that is beyond our understanding be with you always.

Turn all your troubles over to him,
because he cares for you and is watching over you.

1 Peter 5:7 Worldwide English

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God,
and at the right time
he will lift you up in honor.
Give all your worries and cares to God,
for he cares about you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 NLT

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7 NIV

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails

1 Corinthians 13:7-8 adapted

Laura Story “Blessings” Are your blessings in disguise?”


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