In our latest sermon series, #struggles, I spoke on the topic of depression, which has been described as the “common cold” of the human experience — almost everyone will experience it! Please note that I am not talking about depression that is caused by physical diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or cancer. I am also not talking about “a case of the blues.” Rather, depression is a (seemingly) permanent spirit of heaviness, hopelessness, or gloom that affects, controls, and dominates every person’s life.

To help us battle against the struggle of depression in our lives, we looked at Paul’s testimony from 2 Corinthians 4, where he listed four contrasts:

  1. Paul was afflicted (under pressure), but not crushed.
  2. Paul was perplexed (at wits end), but not driven to despair.
  3. Paul was persecuted (this is a hunting term), but not forsaken.
  4. Paul was struck down (this is an image from a boxing or wrestling match), but not destroyed.

How could Paul endure so much, yet remain so steadfast? Again, from his testimony we learned that he had placed his hope in the right sources:

  1. He placed his hope in God’s power instead of his own (2 Corinthians 4:7).
  2. He placed his hope in the gospel, instead of his circumstances (2 Corinthians 4:10-12Philippians 1:12-14).
  3. He placed his hope in the resurrection for all who believe, instead of his own life (2 Corinthians 4:13-15Acts 14:1-7, 19-22; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; John 6:39-40).
  4. He placed his hope in spiritual growth and strength, instead of physical strength (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
  5. He placed his hope in the eternal, instead of the temporal (2 Corinthians 4:18Colossians 3:1-2; Philippians 3:19-21).

What are three eternal things that we should focus on today?

  • God
  • God’s Word
  • The souls of people

Finally, I closed with sharing the story of missionary Samuel Morrison’s return to the United States, as told in Ann Graham Lotz’s book, The Vision of His Glory:

The story is told of an old missionary named Samuel Morrison who, after twenty-five years in Africa, was returning to the United States to die. As it so happened, he traveled home on the same ocean liner that brought President Teddy Roosevelt back from a hunting expedition. When the great ship pulled into the New York harbor, the dock where it was to tie up was jammed with what looked like the entire population of New York City! Bands were playing, banners were waving, choirs of children were singing, multicolored balloons were floating in the air, flashbulbs were popping, and newsreel cameras were poised to record the return of the president.

Mr. Roosevelt stepped down the gangplank to thunderous cheers and applause, showered with confetti and ticker tape. If the crowd had not been restrained by ropes and police, he would have been mobbed!

At the same time, Samuel Morrison quietly walked off the boat. No one was there to greet him. He slipped alone through the crowd. Because of the crush of people there to welcome the president, he couldn’t even find a cab. Inside his heart, he began to complain, “Lord, the president has been in Africa for three weeks, killing animals, and the whole world turns out to welcome him home! I’ve given twenty-five years of my life in Africa, serving You, and no one has greeted me or even knows I’m here!”

In the quietness of his heart, a gentle, loving voice whispered, “But my dear child, you are not home yet!”

Dear Christ-follower who may be struggling with depression, remember that you are not home yet. Put your hope in God — His power, His gospel, His resurrection, His spiritual growth in our lives, and the promise of eternity! Remember, as Paul did, that “this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”