"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8 - 9

Who among us walking the earth today or in centuries past hasn't been hard pressed, crushed, in despair, persecuted, struck down or felt abandoned at some point in our lives--and we lived to tell about it? But what about those that don't live to tell about it; what about those that believe that hope and life have abandoned them? These are the ones that want the pain to end, not necessarily their lives to come to an end, but the pain to go away - to end.

As Christians, we hear all the remarks..."IF you are a Christian, you shouldn't be depressed!" "It's not true that Christians can be depressed." These are very nonsensical statements. IF you are human, you are the target of an enemy that desires to rob, steal, and destroy your joy - your peace! IF you are a Christian - you are a sure enough target of that enemy! What about Christians and depression?

Many times life presents each of us with challenges that go unaddressed, unanswered, and unresolved. Day after day, those issues tend to build up in our spirit until one day, the light around us goes out. We feel trapped in the darkness; depression has grown over our joy and tries to sink its talons deeply into our hearts and minds-until life seems more painful than the option of death. This is why it is so very critical to keep a check on our hearts, minds, and spirits every day.

Physical situaions, chemical imbalances, poor nutrition, lack of sleep can contribute to depression and addressing these issues certainly increases your chance of being happier. Another area that needs addressing comes in the form of our spirits, and our hearts. Emotional health goes hand in hand with our spiritual health --and both of these areas impact our physical health.

We take measures to identify if we are doing well physically,i.e., blood pressure, sugar checks, weight and check-ups. How do we measure our emotional and spiritual health? Consider this-how much time are we investing in actually recognizing God in our daily routines; or, do we relegate Him to Sunday mornings, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evenings at church? By following the teachings of Christ, we are led to take care of our emotional health. It is through His teachings that we experience peace, true joy--the two best preventions to depression.

How often do we share our suspicians that something may not be quite right with our thoughts? How often do we take the time to inquire of our loved ones, "How you doing? You just don't seem to be experiencing much joy in your life."  These seemingly quick interventions could prevent the next suicide. Take into account the responses you might get from those questions, i.e. "I'm fine-just tired." Or - "Oh- hey- I'm great!" Take the time to probe a little deeper into what do you mean by 'fine" or "What you mean by doing great?" Be bold!

Prayer - there is no better way to usher in peace. Talk to God - He listens. Speak out your heart to Him - He cares. Now comes the hard part - trust and believe He will help. Don't put a time constraint down; don't speak out negatively about all the bad - bad is never His desire for our lives - so understand that up front. The bad that is going on int he depressed person's life is not from God. IF the enemy can get a person to believe the lies that all is bad and hopeless, then the enemy can covers a person's heart and spirit in lies that lead to death.

God can change the way a person thinks. If we walk in right thinking, we will exist in right living.  Our thoughts guide our emotions; our emotions dictate our behaviors.  If we cast all our cares on God, He will take of those cares. All of us have gone to the altar and left our burdens there just to return and pick it up again because the enemy lied and said we can handle it - we don't need God's help. Jesus said, "...take my yoke; it is light..." How precious He is to tell us to come and let Him take our burdens - why? Because He trusted His Father with everything-including our burdens. Jesus knew right where to go when problems came.

Friend, please try to talk to God; please try to talk to family, friends if you are not feeling joy, not able to smile. God designed us to be joyful, to be happy--every day. Not just some days - every day.  You deserve all the joy and happiness that He wants you to have - every day! You are a precious child of God! You are loved by The Creator of The Universe - and He sees you, and He knows your struggle. You are His beloved!