by Donny Weimar
Gary lived alone in four square walls. There was a toilet and a bathtub. He had a closet that was small with a few clothes in it. Gary knew that the isolation would get to him. He became depressed. Gary started getting to the point where he could not get himself out of bed much less take care of his cat. Beginning to let his hair grow long on his head and on his face, Gary didn’t bother washing his clothes. He drifts through life, the little life that he had. Being alone in an apartment with no visitors allowed in because of the threat of Corona Virus. It works on him spiritually and physically. And so it does for a great number of people like Gary. For him, it wasn’t that he lives alone. The social isolation is murder on his soul and spirit. Lying in bed makes it worse because now the feelings of exhaustion combined with depression and a hint of boredom make for misery.
Being connected with one another socially is something God created us humans as a fundamental need. God makes Eve for Adam. Adam loves his wife. The Lord’s church is called out of the world to fellowship – to socialize. We understand with his pain. Christians who are widows or widowers understand. Disabled folks who can’t ride public transportation for fear of getting sick. Even married couples can experience loneliness when they are not permitted to get out of the house except for essential needs, may feel somewhat isolated in their own homes. Being alone too much and too long can mess with the mind.
The Biblical model for social interaction is for public and private fellowship. “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47 (ESV) Do you see the benefits of both publicly gathering for worship and privately breaking bread in our homes? I do it. The ancient church had small groups every day in its infancy. Now I know that is too much to ask of local churches today. The point is, God says it’s healthy to spend time together. My wife was filled with laughter when a sister in Christ called today. Both of their spirits were lifted. I visited with a sister for a little while last Lord’s day when she brought her contribution to the church. Seeing her was like seeing sunshine.
When you feel shut-in, call on Father God to give you comfort and peace of mind. Jesus promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) The passage goes on, “So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6 (ESV)) Substitute virus for man in that question. “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can a virus do to me?” Kill me? Blessed are those who die in the Lord. In this social isolation we are experiencing, draw closer to One who is your biggest listener.
“Be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8 (ESV))
Like the Spanish flu or the plagues of Egypt, the present threat will pass. Prove your mind. Set your thoughts on the pure and holy (Philippians 4:8). He turns lemon in to lemonade, as the proverbial saying. When our trials end, the nation will most glorify the Lord. On that sweet someday Jesus will save. The Lord will come. Meanwhile, the death toll is rising.
All us deal with a measure of depression from time to time. When loneliness leads to feelings of hopelessness, choose to rely on your High Priest Jesus for friendship. “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Hebrews 2:11 (NKJV)). We may take that lengthy gloom we have been affected with and give to Jesus. The Christian is able to have a superior outlook on the pandemic as the saints of old. A proverb of David,
“I am certain that I will see the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13-14 (HCSB)).
Lifting Depression. Three simple tactics to lift depression during social isolation are mined like gems from 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (KJV).
Lifting Depression Takes Rejoicing. Sounds ironic, doesn’t it? God’s will that you have a joyful and content life. He is not going to leave you in a pit of despair. This life is temporary from the start. We know our days are numbered. Life is as a vapor. But, that’s not a sad thing. It means Heaven is reward where there will be nor more tears, temptations, nor depression. There will be no disease nor cause for grieving. The life we live has Heaven in mind. Today is fleeting and will soon pass. The great tomorrow is everlasting, and we rejoice for that great day. Jesus came to give us an abundant life. We live it today and it will be even more glorious in the afterlife.
Lifting Depression calls for prayer. When you hit rock bottom in the loneliness of isolation, call on God to lift you up. Listen as God blesses his children of Israel.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
“Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
Numbers 6:22-26 (KJV)
Rather than identifying with the effects of being socially isolated, concentrate on the Lord’s will. Pray for His will in your life. When we wallow in our self-will, we end up hurting ourselves. By yielding our thoughts captive to Christ we allow Jesus to grant peace. (Philippians 4:8) Prayer forces us to be God centered. When we are in the proper prayer zone, we have a greater awareness of the presence of God in life. A connection the ungodly does not understand.
By removing the negative thoughts commonly vested in depression we learn to an attitude of thankfulness in everything. Being grateful to God is biblically expressed with worshipful praise. “Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28 (ESV)). The kingdom received is the gospel believed. The purpose of life does not consist in the wealth nor the health of this world. We thank Father God for providing us every spiritual blessing in heavenly places, which are in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). We are too blessed to be depressed. Give thanks to God as taught in Colossians 3:17.
Pick up the phone and give another Christian a call today. Don’t aim to make yourself feel better. Try to out do others in edifying them. You might be surprised what affect it has on you. Christianity is never narcissistic. It’s not manipulative. Have pure motives. Deflating depression takes getting out of self and into the life of others. Social isolation does not have to box us in four walls. Be there for someone else. You will be glad you did. Remember: rejoice, pray and be grateful. No virus will prevail pierce the soul and spirit of God’s children. We are the blessed family of God.