Depression: What Sitting in the Darkness Teaches Us About God

Amber Ginter

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Updated Apr 03, 2023
Depression: What Sitting in the Darkness Teaches Us About God

But at the end of every dark day, the night promises me the hope of a new morning. A better tomorrow. A chance to begin again. His grace is never-ending. His love never-failing. 

I have another confession to make. 

One that's real, and raw, and deep. 

It gnaws at me to split open my heart, but still, I don't know the last time I was happy. 

And by happy, I don't mean temporary smiles for a slight period. 

Perhaps the word I am looking for is joyful

I don't remember the last time I had pure and authentic joy. 

Not just a feeling of being "happy," but something lasting and beyond. 

My circumstances. 

My health. 

My mental state. 

My anxiety.

My depression. 

And quite frankly, I haven't felt like myself for the last four to five years. 

Joy eludes me. 

It's a best friend I used to have but can't feel now. 

She moved away, and I don't know why.

Oh, Lord, how can I find her again?

How can I find someone lost within me?

Are you still here?

Is anyone home?

I know your Spirit is within me, but where did you go?

Anxious Thoughts and Spiraling Waves

These are the thoughts that clouded my mind this past Thursday after a twelve-hour workday. And I started to truly ponder: How did I get here? When did it get this bad? Will I ever feel like myself again?

In between tears and anger, I settled into the cool comforter of my bed. The pages of I Love Jesus, But I Want to Die, blur with every second. I try to think about Jesus. To be happy. To be thankful, joyful, and blessed. I feel like I'm really trying. And yet, here I am. 

Still stagnant. 

Feeling hopeless and lost out to sea. 

Feeling alone. Like no one gets it. 

Putting up a front at work so nobody knows, but crumpling to the ground like discarded paper in the sacredness of my home. A place I can't pretend any longer. 

Maybe I am going crazy.

Standing at a Crossroads

At this crossroad, I stand in my mind. I know I love and believe in God, but something isn't quite right. I'm wrestling like Jacob with thoughts of flesh that oppose my spirit. Why do the anxiety, depression, addiction to productivity, and life-sucking nausea of life consume me? 

I know that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12, NIV). Intellectually, I know that the things I am facing (physical and mental pain) are not of God. He's good. Always. He's faithful always. He loves me. Always. 

My fiance and I are getting married soon. We just signed a contract for our first home. I'm in a program to be a full-time author. I have one more year to teach. Life is still good

But I am still battling demons. Inner and outer ones that don't seem to fade. And the more I pray. The more I read my Bible, the more exhausted I seem to grow. 

The suffering consumes me. The pain is never-ending. The comments to "just be happy and blessed" prick my skin. I know. I know. I know! I am trying. I am failing.

But at the end of every dark day, the night promises me the hope of a new morning. A better tomorrow. A chance to begin again. His grace is never-ending. His love never-failing. 

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV).

When Healing Comes

I'm working on a lot of things to heal myself. And more often than not, I feel like the bleeding woman who spent all that she had on doctors and medical staff to only feel worse. Thanks to insurance and God, I'm not paying all the bills. But I do feel weary. 

"And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched" (Luke 8:43-44, KJV). 

I'm reaching for His garment. The one the bleeding woman knew if she "just touched, she would be healed." And while I've understood that I may never be healed on this side of heaven, I'm still praying. I'm still believing. I'm still putting one foot in front of the other, even and especially when I'd rather sink in the quicksand around me. 

But I'm done trying to get others to understand and validate my struggles. Honestly, the only ones who will truly understand are those who've walked through the battles themselves. There are many I don't expect to get it. There are many I meet and know never will. Yet, within me, I also know that many of you know exactly what I'm talking about. Suffering is your partner in crime, and you know him more than I ever will. And so did Jesus. 

The Healing We All Desire

I've been meeting with a lot of medical staff lately. The number would probably make your head spin. At least I know that's what it does to mine. Allergist. Endometriosis specialist. OBGYN. Primary Care. Psychiatrist. Counselor. Nutritionist. Thyroid specialist. GI specialist. I'm sure you're getting weary reading this list. I'm sure you get the point. 

The number of mental and physical issues I've developed since graduating college is enough to make anyone drown in their sorrows. And while I'm trying to stay hopeful, it's all so overwhelming. Defeating. Crushing. Medication may help me. It's something I need the courage to try. But it's something I'm still navigating. 

I've worn leggings and a t-shirt for the last two years to work almost every single day. To say I'm stressed, tired, anxious, and depressed is no surprise to my exterior. 

There are days I want to give up. To just accept the pain. Roll over and go back to sleep despite the gnawing, high-functioning anxiety that keeps me going, believe the lie that it will always be this way, and things will never get better. My coping skills, reframing, and defense mechanisms tell me otherwise. 

But none of them can or will heal me the way I want my Lord and Savior to. I'm praying for a restored relationship with Him. To embody the joy of the Lord as my strength regardless of my pain, turmoil, or circumstance. To read His Word out of desire and not routine. To talk to Him like my best friend and not a distant robot who hears my regurgitated routines. 

I want something real. 

I want something raw.

I want to go deeper in my knowledge and love of Him. 

Not intellectually. 

But in my heart. 

And how I know Him.

How I'll grow to experience Him.

How I'll learn to grow differently with Him. 

I don't need more people to tell me that "someone else has it worse," or "I am blessed and need to exchange my sorrow for joy."

What I need is for people to be Jesus to me. 

For them to act as He would. 

Love as He would. 

Comfort as He would. 

To Be Like Jesus

Remember Elijah, sitting under the broom tree, wishing to die? God didn't condemn him. He said to eat and rest. Let me sit with you through this trial, he said. 

"Now Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “May the gods deal with me, and ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow, I do not make your life like the lives of those you killed!” And Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself traveled on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers" (1 Kings 19:1-4, BSB). 

He said this journey is too much for you. Not "suck it up, just be thankful, get it together." And He provided what Elijah needed at that moment: food, water, and comfort. 

"Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” And he looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. A second time the angel of the LORD returned and touched him, saying, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you" (1 Kings 19:5-7, BSB). 

I'm doing this for others the best I know how. 

I ask that you do the same. 

For me.

For you. 

For them. 

For Him.

I'm in the dark right now. Sitting. Waiting. Hoping. Praying. Searching for tomorrow. Asking that tomorrow comes soon. But I know He's sitting there with me. In the dark. He's not pressing the light because He exudes it. He's the light I need. Comforting me. Reminding me. He's there. 

He's with you, too, dear friend. 

In the depression. 

In the darkness. 

In the gnawing anxiety.

And He always will be.

Even till the end. 

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20b, NIV). 

Agape, Amber 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Jelena Stanojkovic

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is a teacher-turned-author who loves Jesus, her husband Ben, and granola. Growing up Amber looked for faith and mental health resources and found none. Today, she offers hope for young Christians struggling with mental illness that goes beyond simply reading your Bible and praying more. Because you can love Jesus and still suffer from anxiety. You can download her top faith and mental health resources for free to help navigate books, podcasts, videos, and influencers from a faith lens perspective. Visit her website at