Jesus Depressed? Say What?
Thinking of the Son of God being depressed is for some almost impossible to believe. Many would think that this Son of Man was much stronger than this while he journeyed here on earth. If you struggle with this, please let me ask you some questions: How could Jesus be “a man of sorrows acquainted with grief?” How could he be “tempted in every way like we are tempted” or be empathic regarding our feelings and infirmities, as mentioned in Hebrews 4:15ff, if he didn’t process grief like you or me?
Now when I talk about this stage of grief, I am not talking about chronic depression. I am talking about the acute onset of depression that comes upon us when we experience a significant loss. I am talking about those dark overwhelming feelings and grief triggers that cause us to feel low down and or loaded down. This includes a semblance of sadness or sorrow, but it carries with it more of a heaviness of heart. Some feel almost like they could die. This is what Jesus said when he was loaded down with grief.
“Then He said to them ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow
to the point of death.
Stay here and keep watch with me.’”
Notice that his soul was “overwhelmed with sorrow…” How bad was it? It was so bad that his being overwhelmed and sorrow brought him to the “point of death.” We could easily say Jesus was so overwhelmed that he felt like he could “just die.” Now, I don’t know about you, but this sounds like Jesus is pretty low, as the Cross looms awesomely on his horizon. It sounds just like the onset of acute depression. The good thing he did, however, was not to seek isolation but company. For he asked three disciples to “Stay here and watch with me.” He was actually requesting the support of a small group consisting of Peter, James and John. Now, to be sure, they let him down badly; however, there is a teaching moment in this for you and me:
You and I need to emulate what Jesus exemplified here when we grieve through any stage of grief, but especially this dark stage. We would do well for ourselves, and for others, if we were honest about our feelings, and if we were honest about our grief. He spoke out loud what was in his soul. He did not bottle up the grief, he confessed his grief feelings to a few people he knew cared deeply about him. He did his “grief work” in sharing with his small group of three disciples, and this helped get thim through it. Quite frankly, he did not isolate himself. He asked for help.
It is because of this wonderful example of Jesus sharing with others out of his pain and suffering, that I really like to find a way to help anyone grieving to get into a grief group for the purpose of authentically sharing. And while they are in the group, I encourage them to grieve with Jesus by getting connected intimately with others so as to be able to grieve in the healing way that God intends. You may feel so low that you might even say, “I feel like I could just die.” Feel this fully, BUT keep accepting friends close by. Solitude is good, but Isolation is deadly. Follow Jesus example, as you walk through “the valley of the shadow.”
So, in closing this blog, please consider that you might just need help. Please consider that you might just help others in the group. Yes, talk to God about it. Talk to a friend or individual counselor about your grief journey. But, be sure you add to all of this very important one on one activity a few other standing people who need you and you need them. If you are grieving, may you have good grief today.
God bless you.