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Many people have been writing so much material on depression. People, however, are as perplexed as ever. Our hearts are saddened to see an increasing amount of both older and younger people now taking drugs to avoid the extreme effects of depression. They are told that depression is caused because of a chemical imbalance and therefore must be medically solved. Unfortunately, this is not the whole story.
We do not deny a chemical imbalance in long term depression. We, however, are not at all convinced that this chemical imbalance is the ultimate cause for the depression.
In this Book of Haggai, we see God treating discouraged and depressed people through words and exhortations. This began a healing process which in the end helped them finish building the temple in difficult times. We are led to believe from this model that our responses to God can lead to very sad situations or motivating times.
Because causes for depression outside of chemical upset of our bodies are rarely looked for anymore, genuine solutions are not discovered. People are left for long durations under the influence of powerful drugs making healing elusive. We are even more frustrated to see many of God's people fully convinced of this secular model. Confusion rather than healing results. This is not God's perfect will.
The LORD Himself took this case on and showed us how to deal with a person who went from discouragement to depression. God took the initiative and the details of the case help us get a good handle on this issue. Indeed there are other cases that must be dealt with differently, but we see the major means of working with depressed people here in Haggai chapters 1-2. We will focus on this discussion below.
What does Haggai the prophet say about all of this? Very little in fact. He was the prophet God used to speak to the people. He was there, but we see his participation only in voicing God's thoughts to these depressed people. Haggai was only a servant of the High God. If we are called to pray or counsel a depressed person, we should keep our servant status to God in mind. We have not the needed compassion, patience or wisdom on our own. We must humble seek these things from the Lord Himself through prayer and meditation on the scriptures.
We are not trying to say all depression follows this model exactly, but instead that certain factors which are exposed here need to be taken into consideration when dealing with all cases of discouragement, despair and depression. This case will give us lots of encouragement on how to practically deal with people facing discouragement to depression. We even see God having 'problems' getting through to them.
Now let's learn from the many insights that we can gain on how God deals with discouraged and depressed people.
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988