|It bothers me when I hear people say that only the weak-minded struggle with severe depression. That’s cause I sometimes get hit hard with more than just downhearted feelings. There are times when I feel like disappearing—I don’t want to talk to anyone, and I don’t want to face the world.
I’m not the only one who has days like that. I think of them as “the day of evil” spoken about in Ephesians 6:13. When they come, I hang on for dear life to a couple of well-worn Scriptures that assure me joy will come in the morning.
And I take encouragement that the great hymn writer William Cowper suffered from depression. He constantly struggled against suicide. Once he even tried to hang himself. Another time he fell on a knife but the blade broke, and at one point he threw himself into a river, hoping to drown. He had a mental breakdown and was placed in an insane asylum for eighteen months. During his detention he read Romans 3:25, the part about the blood of Christ being so powerful as to atone for all past sins—even the guilt of suicidal thoughts.
After his conversion he became friends with John Newton, who wrote “Amazing Grace.” It was just the inspiration Cowper needed to write the beautiful hymn “There Is a Fountain.”
Throughout his life Cowper continued to be plagued by severe depression, and often he sought to end his life. His most powerful hymns were written after those times. We may become depressed on this side of eternity, but aren’t you glad that little by little, inch by inch, day by day, God renews our minds…all because there is a fountain filled with blood?
Thank you, Father, for the encouragement of past saints’ lives. They remind us there is no permanent cure for our woes here on earth, which makes us long all the more for your transforming grace and mercy.