A gracEmail reader in Texas writes, “Am I saved if I trust in Jesus, even though sometimes I am depressed and have doubts? My depression is physically based. I don’t know if I get depressed because of my lack of faith, or if my faith goes lacking because I become depressed.”
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You seem to be sorting through this quite well. Depression is often physical in origin, whether from hormone imbalance, chemical irregularity or mere exhaustion and fatigue. We are psychosomatic creatures — our emotional, spiritual and physical aspects are all intertwined. Depression itself is not “wrong” or immoral, although it is something the devil likes to lay on us to make us miserable and to rob our joy (John 10:9-10). We may remember that “God is greater than our hearts” or emotions and that he “knows all things” — including the truth of our relationship with him (1 John 3:19-20). God’s love is an objective reality. It is grounded in his own nature and he has demonstrated it to us in Jesus Christ (John 3:16), It does not depend on our subjective feelings.
Faith does not mean always having an optimistic attitude or feeling “bubbly.” It allows us to tell God exactly how we feel and what we think, to explain any situation to him as we see it, and to register our complaints and requests and arguments. But faith also means that after doing all those things, we finally say to God, “I place myself and all my circumstances in your hands. You are my Creator and Savior. I commit myself to follow you — with gratitude and with ultimate confidence that you are there and that you will do what is right” (Heb. 11:6).
The late Chinese evangelist Watchman Nee illustrated this with a parable. Fact, Faith and Feeling were walking along the top of a stone wall. While Faith looked at Fact, Feeling followed Faith and all went well. But then Faith took his eyes off Fact in order to look at Feeling, and fell off the wall. God’s truth in Christ, the gospel message, and the realities revealed by Scripture are “fact.” Our practical reliance on those realities constitute “faith.” Unless we are ill, our “feelings” usually follow our “faith.” Keep your eyes on Jesus — and on the God who showed us in Jesus that he is “for” us and that he is always faithful (Rom. 8:31-39; 15:13).