I am shocked by how many unhappy people I meet on a day-to-day basis. Many of the people I am referring to live unfulfilled lives. Depression is a major problem in our world today. It is a state where people experience extreme changes in their moods. Most common is a low, sad state where life looks empty and dark and the simple challenges of life seem completely overwhelming. It affects our emotions, our motivation, our ability to think straight and, ultimately, our behavior. The most common descriptions people give of their feelings during depression are that of being “miserable,” “empty,” and “humiliated.” They experience little pleasure in life and may experience anxiety, anger or agitation. Some begin their day in depression, while others end their day that way, and still others have patterns of depression on the weekend. Most people who suffer from depression do not realize they are in company with Isaac Newton, Beethoven, Darwin, Van Gogh, Tolstoy, Spurgeon, Moses and Queen Victoria. Yet, for most, the subject of depression is rarely discussed, and they live in a state of disapproval, suspicion and guilt.
For most people depression has its roots in some kind of disappointment. It comes when they strive to be appreciated as a child by parents, teachers and others and are not. They react to criticism and rejection, which sometime come in the form of a trauma, by isolating themselves. They get angry when things go wrong, accenting their failure to acquire coping skills. They feel unloved, inferior and inadequate. All this and much more becomes the basis for depression, leading to unhappiness in their lives.
They develop an attitude of defeat. They avoid challenges because they don’t feel up to the task. They consider themselves second-class people. Thus, it is understandable that they would develop an attitude of entrapment. They don’t see any alternative escape with or without the help of others.
Jesus spoke to the depressed when he said these words:
“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’"
“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’"
What a beautiful invitation from the one who offers to give us rest. Rest in the area we most hurt, our souls and spirits. Jesus is able to lift the burden we have become accustomed to carrying. He not only promises us rest, but he promises to transform us into a person who is overflowing with something to share with others.