Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness

As a pastor, I have regular conversations with those who are suffering through depression.  Many people are wondering if the struggle they are experiencing can be labeled depression or something else.  In the evangelical world, there are many people who believe in the diagnosis of depression and the need for medicinal aid, and there are other people who feel like all issues are sin issues and there aren’t medical reasonings for the struggles.

The problem is I have respect for both camps.

Depression is a tricky topic.  As a pastor, I feel as if I was lacking some confidence concerning those issues and sought out a book that would be balanced in its approach.  Edward T. Welch did it.  In his book, Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness, he gives a supremely helpful volume that handles well the issues of the theological, pastoral, practical, and medical elements regarding depression.

I recommend this book for those who are struggling through depression or those who are walking with someone struggling through depression.

It is a very good help for those suffering through this life.  It gives enough encouragement and pushing towards those going through.

Favorite Quotes

  1. Depression is a form of suffering that can’t be reduced to one universal cause (4).
  2. Even if medication relieves some of the burden of depression, it may be functioning like aspirin.  That is, it takes away some of the symptoms but the root problems persist (21).
  3. Therefore, depression, regardless of the causes, is a time to answer the deepest and most important of all questions: Whom will I trust?  Whom will I worship (31)?
  4. What these psalms do is straighten the trajectory of our lives.  Using the words he gives us, God gently turns our hearts toward him (45).
  5. God has determined that many good things come through perseverance (65).
  6. Perseverance isn’t flashy.  It doesn’t call attention to itself.  It looks like putting one foot in front of another (82).
  7. You don’t really know who you are until you have gone through suffering (119).
  8. This is how idolatry frowns in our hearts.  We want things and we aren’t sure God will give them to us, so we put our trust in other gods.  This is THE problem of the human heart – misplaced trust (133).
  9. Sadness + Anger = Depression (137).
  10. Live like a person who has been released from a huge debt (146).
  11. Depression sees some things accurately but is absolutely blind to others (155).
  12. [Regarding depression], there are hundreds of physical aids, and many of them can change the physical experience of depression.  They will not give you hope, but they might make you feel less miserable (190).
  13. Etch this in stone: if depression gives you an early warning – and it usually does – bring everything you have to the fight (214).
  14. There is something marvelous about joy, but there is something humbling in it too.  Joy takes our attention off ourselves and places it on God and all the things that have God as their source (239).

Book Description

Where Is God in the Struggle? Looking away from despair towards hope can feel risky. What if God doesn’t come through for you? What if you don’t feel instantly better? Instead of offering simple platitudes or unrealistic “cure-all” formulas, Edward T. Welch addresses the complex nature of depression with compassion and insight, applying the rich treasures of the gospel, and giving fresh hope to those who struggle. Originally published as Depression: A Stubborn Darkness Light for the Path, this new edition is updated with added content.