Several days ago, I received an e-mail stating that one of my favorite cousins had passed away suddenly. That afternoon, I realized I was a little depressed. I had been reflecting on Tony's life and the thought had crossed my mind that he wasn't much older than I am.
Tony was a godly, Christian man who was dedicated to his family and his church. Life was not always easy for him as he lost part of his arm in a farming accident when he was a young man. He continued his sweet disposition and always seemed upbeat. Most farmers are hardworking, honest men and Tony fit that description. The angels are celebrating in heaven.
As I gave thought to being a little depressed, I picked up a Christmas devotional book I had been reading daily during the month of December. That particular morning, I had read the Scripture and then laid it aside to come back to it later. The subject of the devotional - depression. God knew I would need to read this in the afternoon rather than that particular morning. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the example given for how to overcome depression. In Luke 1:46-49, after the angel left her, Mary exalted and praised God instead of slipping into depression concerning what was about to happen to her. If I am praising the greatness of God, how can I stay depressed!
If I choose to focus on my depression, I won't be able to focus on God's goodness and greatness. Praising God will cause sadness and depression to leave and joy to fill our hearts. (I am not talking about serious depression that sometimes requires medical attention. I am focusing on sadness and mild depression.)
Will I still be sad because of the death of my cousin? Yes! But if I focus on praising God and exalting Him as Mary did, I won't wallow in depression. When I focus on God through difficulties, I am reminded He is Sovereign and He never leaves me or forsakes me.
My prayer is for God's comforting and healing hand to be on all who have lost loved ones, especially during the Christmas season. I ask God to help us focus on Him and not on ourselves and our circumstances.
"Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forever more. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised." Psalm 113:1-3