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The Valley Of

Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together
for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his
One day I was
counseling with a man who made this statement, “I wish I were like you and I
never got depressed. After all, preachers never get depressed.”  He did not realize how wrong he
was.  All of us have bouts of
depression on the roller coaster of life. Never buy a book that tells you how
to avoid depression.  It is a waste
of money.  There is no way to avoid
depression; it is simply a normal part of life.
We must all
experience the highs and lows in the cycle of life. Life is not a straight ride
without valleys and mountains.  In
fact, depression is actually good for you. You cannot enjoy the mountaintop
without experiencing the valley. Only by experiencing a cloudy day will you
appreciate the sunny days. Depression is only bad if it becomes a permanent way
of life.
Leaders In the Bible Fought depression
 Many great leaders
in the Bible have been known for their bouts of depression. Jeremiah became so
depressed that he quit preaching. He even refused to speak to anyone in God’s
name.  After winning a great
victory over the prophets of Baal, Elijah fled from Jezebel.  Later he sat under a juniper tree and
desired to die.  David became
depressed because he thought God had cast him off and would never use him
again.  Jonah became depressed
after the great revival in Nineveh because the people were saved and God did
not kill them. The disciples became depressed after Jesus was crucified, not
knowing He had been raised from the dead.
Even great leaders,
in more recent times, have suffered bouts of depression. I have seen Dr. Jack
Hyles when he came face to face with depressing things. I have seen Evangelist Lester Roloff, Dr.
Lee Roberson, and Dr. Wendell Evans battling depressing things in life.  At one point in Charles Spurgeon’s
life, when his health was failing and his wife was an invalid, he went to
France for a while and sent his sermons back to his church so they could be
read from the pulpit. 
I, also, have
experienced problems that have brought on times of depression. One Monday
morning I went to the airport to fly to a preaching engagement in Atlanta,
Georgia.  My wife had just
undergone surgery to install a pump for pain control.  She returned to the doctor to have the staples removed, and
the doctor found that she had a staph infection. Several years earlier she had
suffered a deadly staph infection that never completely left her system, making
her susceptible to recurring staph infections. The doctor said he would have to
remove the pump. She would, then, have to wait 3 months to have another surgery
for a new pump.  That was a
depressing time for us.
When our grandson,
R.G., was born, the doctors found he had severe physical problems. That was a
valley, not just for my son Bob and his wife, Kelly; it was a valley for us, as
his grandparents, too.  
Yet, R.G.
has been such a blessing to our family. He is so happy, and he thoroughly
enjoys life. A few years after the birth of R.G., our granddaughter was
stillborn to Scott and Jenny. That was another time of depression for us.
God does not tell
us, in the Bible, how we can avoid depression.  However, He does tell us that, when those times of
depression come, we should not stay in the valley.  The depression should be a visitor, not a tenant; a renter,
not an owner.  It can be a tourist,
not a citizen; a vagrant, not a dweller; a wayfarer, not an inhabitant; a
sojourner, not a host; a guest, not a family member.  It should be temporary.
Depression is necessary for Joy
Psalm chapter
126, verses 5 and 6 promise,  
5“They that
sow in tears shall reap in joy.  6He that goeth forth and
weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
bringing his sheaves with him.”

Joy comes in the
morning, after the nighttime. The valley increases the joy of the mountain
peak. Clouds increase the joy of sunlight. Wintertime increases the joy of
summer. There can be no peak without a valley, no sunrise without the setting
of the sun, no harvest without a time of sowing.  Depression will come.
Do not think
depression is a sin or that you are backslidden. It is part of your emotions.
We are in a war in this world, and there is no joy in the loss of soldiers’
lives when they fight for freedom. However, we must find a way to keep
depression from staying in our lives. We cannot avoid its presence, but we can
avoid its permanence. We need to make sure morning will come and the sun will
The 7th and 8th
chapters of Romans are contrasts of depression and mountains. In chapter 7,
Paul is suffering from depression. In verse 24 he cries, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this
  He is in the midnight
hour, in the middle of winter.  He
is discouraged.
Then, in chapter 8,
Paul comes out of the depression. 
He climbs the mountain and awakes to the sunshine.  He has victory, and it is
summertime.  He is now encouraged.
He tells us in verse 28, “And we know
that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are
the called according to his purpose.”

When depression
comes and you are in the valley, start doing what God made you to do. Pick up
your rifle and jump back into the battle. Otherwise, you will be finished, and
you will be knocked down. If you sit around feeling sorry for yourself, you
will never pull yourself out of the depression.
If you do not have
any money, go find a job.  If you
are having problems with your wife, do what God made you to do and love her. If
your grades are bad in school, try studying and doing your homework and if you
are in trouble at work, start working harder.
When you are depressed,
diversion does not work because it simply delays the inevitable.  It will not help to go to the amusement
park. A wife’s depression is not alleviated when she goes shopping, or when she
stays in bed and neglects the housework. 
It does not help to watch a video, go fishing, or play ball. The only
way you can escape the depression is by doing what God made you to do.  Do not withdraw; attack. Do not go away
for a few days; get with it for a few days. Man your post. Do your duty, and
carry out your assignment for God.
When my wife was in
the hospital with the staph infection, the doctor decided to discharge her at
noon on a Saturday. I called one of my staff men to take over the Saturday
meetings at church so I could pick her up.  The hours went by, but she was not discharged until 5:00 in
the afternoon. While I was waiting, I went to Subway to buy a sandwich. I
approached a family who was eating there and gave them the Gospel, and several
people were saved.

Highs and lows are
a normal part of life.  When you
hit a bout of depression, learn to pull out of it and climb on topside. Do what
God made you to do. Go soul winning, tithe, and attend church.  You can pull out of it if you want to.

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