"He gives power to the faint,
   and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
   they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
   they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:29-31)

A few years ago, a friend told me this verse was on her heart for me. It is a promise of strength, that in Christ we can overcome any fear, anguish, pain, fatigue, anger, sorrow, or apathy that wants to take us over. At that point in my life, it seemed unlikely that there would ever be a time when I wasn’t weary and weak.

I’m a Christian living with depression, and the only way I have found to keep myself alive and hopeful is to look for His divine brushstrokes through what sometimes feels like infinite smears of black; to open my heart to those who can speak truth into my life.

I have had a personal relationship with Jesus as far back as I can remember. I always loved going to church and praying before bed, reading stories from the Bible and about the saints, but the times that I remember feeling closest to God throughout my life were always times of grief. In spite of the darkness, my depression has been a place where I have drawn near to — rather than been separated from — my God. In its own strange way, depression has been a gift that brings me nearer to Him, and nearer to those who suffer without Him. It has helped me actively give Christ permission to illuminate my life and to use me to illuminate the lives of the people around me.

They say that God won’t give us challenges we can’t handle, and I’m not sure if I believe that, but I know that it’s true that we can handle them when we are close to Him and close to the people around us.

Lord, thank You for the gift of suffering. It feels weird to say those words, but I know that You have a plan for me to use my pain for Your glory. Let me illuminate the lives of those around me, just as You illuminate my own. I love You and I pray all of these things in Your precious name, amen.

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Tags: gift depression