Hope for those struggling with seasonal depression

This is a difficult time of the year for many people.

Late January/early February – when the days are cold and gloomy – can be difficult for those who struggle with seasonal depression. A general feeling of apathy, a sense of sluggishness (physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally and spiritually) and a lack of motivation makes it hard to get up and out of bed in the morning.

In our church there are many feeling this right now – and its more than a general gloominess. I’ve been in several conversations the past few weeks with those who struggle every year in this way; several have asked for prayer as they are feeling it again right now.

Last week about a dozen of us spent the day away in prayer and reflection at Daylesford Abbey, a Norbertine monastic community and Catholic parish near the Mainline in Philadelphia. While there I happened to be reading a passage of Scripture that made me pause and pray for those who are currently struggling. If you are struggling right now, I offer this to you as a glimpse of hope.

While reading the well-known passage of Paul on Mars Hill in Acts 17, I came across a passage I had never notice before. Paul explains to the men of Athens the story of God and his accessibility to them. Here is how he explains the good news:

“And [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘in him we live and move and having our being.'” (vv. 26-28a, ESV)

I am gripped by the phrase “that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” People who struggle with depression have described it to me as feeling their way through a dark room trying to find their way without bumping into things. Perhaps that’s why (along with the recent conversations with others) this passage jumped out at me.

Sometimes when we’re struggling, the hope we can have is that we can seek Him, feel our way toward God and find him. We may feel like we’re wandering in the dark, wandering aimlessly.

If you are struggling with seasonal depression right now, let me encourage you with this:

He is not far from each one of us.

Keep seeking.

He is close.

He is near.

He is accessible.

Keep feeling your way in the dark. He can be found.