My Personal Testimony To Victory Over Depression
Growing up in the Bronx, NY, I was not aware that I suffered from severe depression. All I recall is that I desperately wanted to be accepted by people. I often yielded to peer pressure just to be one of the gang. As I approached adulthood, the daily responsibilities and trials of adult life overwhelmed me. I was only an adult in age; in my mind, I was still an adolescent. My entire world came crashing down. I would cry every night going to sleep and would, literally, shake whenever stress or conflict arose. I was quite a basket case.
In spite of all my depression symptoms being out of control, God was actually removing all the masks in my life I hid behind. Because He was removing them, I was able to see Him more clearly and cry out for help.
Being so desperate at age 22, I asked Jesus to come live in my heart. That was on April 1, 1979 and wound up being the greatest decision I ever made. I felt the unconditional love and acceptance I had always cried out for. I was so amazed that Jesus now lived in me and that He overwhelmed me with His love and acceptance.
All I now wanted to do was to love Jesus back. I would read the Bible every day experiencing how much Jesus loves me. What a joy reading about the God Who loves me. I began seeing life through His eyes.
As a few years went by, I considered myself a mature Christian because I knew the Bible very well and was heavily involved in Christian ministry. However, God was about to show me otherwise that I was still masking my depression. Jesus saved me in 1979, but I never permitted Him to heal my broken heart. Now He really wanted to get my attention so He could heal my brokenness.
All my depression symptoms came out again. I could not figure out why. I was devastated that my symptoms arose again. I tried to pray them away. I answered numerous altar calls, confessed my sins repeatedly, and rebuked the depression.
Yet, the depression symptoms only grew worse. Why was I again crying every night going to sleep? Why did my body shake whenever stress or conflict occurred? Neither did I encounter any brethren in Christ who understood what I was experiencing. I felt more condemnation than compassion from them. (Can you relate?) I had to withdraw from all ministries to be alone with God.
Again I cried out to Jesus. And again, as usual, He answered. Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
Jesus was basically telling me, “Bob, you are saved, but you are still living as though you are dead. You are trying to live a life that only I can live. I am the only one qualified to live the Christian life through you. So just let Me. Bob, I crucified all your sins, your sin nature, and all its consequences (including your depression). I buried them in My tomb and left them there dead and buried. Bob, in My eyes, your depression is dead. So what is keeping you from seeing it dead through your eyes?”
That became the answer I needed. (And I know this to be the same answer that countless Christians need, perhaps you.) I kept looking at something (depression) that was dead. No wonder my depression was prolonged.
God couldn’t help me if I kept looking at something that was dead. God deals with life – specifically His life in me (Colossians 1:27, Galatians 2:20). Once I began to focus and meditate on Christ living in me now, the Christian life became enjoyable again. I started viewing my depression as dead. All I now was focusing on was life His life in me and the Holy Spirit just began overwhelming me with His love again. Jesus was now healing my broken heart. Amen!
So for the past 17 years, I am the most joyful I have ever been in my Christian life. Every day I have a deeper passion just to love Jesus (even despite many trials). I now realize what total dependence on Christ means.
He is the vine; I am a branch. A branch does not produce fruit; it bears fruit. A Christian branch does not struggle to produce Christian fruit. A branch rests totally dependent on the life of the vine to flow through it. Likewise, Christians are to rest totally dependent on the life of Christ to flow through them.
This is the life Jesus is referring to – His life. I now focus on Him in me, being sensitive to His love motivating my every action so only His fruit is produced. What an excitement the Christian life becomes – the benefit of falling more in love with Jesus everyday. Outstanding!
This is where I am today. Jesus trusts me more to share His love to a hurting world. He showed me that He would send hurting and depressed Christians across my path and that I would be speaking before groups of people. I am only to direct them to Him. And I have no problem with that for He is the Christian in me. Christ in the Christian puts God back into man. Praise His Glorious Name!
This is the joy I desire to share with you now. The joy is only Jesus Christ in a vibrant, personal relationship. I desire to only direct you to Him. May you only see Jesus as God living in me and through my every action.