You have taken from me friend and neighbor; darkness is my closest friend. (Psalm 88:18)
When I am in the grip of depression, a weighty spirit pins me down to the bed. Some wonder why those of us with mental illness don’t just get up and go about our days. While this would certainly help, sometimes doing this is like running a four-minute mile with a broken leg.
So what can we do when we trapped in a cave of despair? Pray? Hardly! We can do next to nothing. Only moan, alone, in misery. Yet, by God’s grace, the Holy Spirit translates our feeble groans into effective prayers.
More than anyone, Jesus gets this. On the dark night before he was killed, he sweat prayers of blood. (see Luke 22:44) Then, the Holy Spirit transforms his sweat into strength. He is given the spiritual strength to endure suffering — to give his life to God, for us.
If you are going through a dark night of your soul, you are not alone. Talk to a trusted Christian friend. Find a good counselor. Pray with your pastor.
Most importantly, turn to Christ. Jesus gets what we are going through. He connects us to our heavenly Father who sends a Counselor in the Holy Spirit. God never leaves us nor forsakes us, no matter how deeply entrenched we are in darkness. Words alone can’t express Christ’s love for us.
… the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)