It seems pretty easy to define circumstantial depression; it’s depression that was caused by hardships or difficult life circumstances. So if we change the circumstances, will the depression lift?
Looking at the life of David on the run from Saul to running the Kingdom did bring a major change in his circumstances. David’s prayers changed, his position changed, his daily living activities changed and his writing in the Psalms changed. We can also look at Joseph and Job. Same thing, with the change of circumstances, there was a lift in the depression (and a change in challenges). Even the circumstances in the life of the disciples pre-resurrection to post-resurrection brought about a huge change in their lives and in the world, for the good.
So do changed circumstances lift depression? Yes. However, it is the very nature of depression to prevent us from seeking the change. Depression is caused by feeling trapped by your circumstances. It’s the catch 22 syndrome of “oh no, I am stuck and I feel absolutely helpless in living in the day to day,” We feel as if there is not way out and no problematic solution to control the outcome. Questions like “Where are you God?” and “Why are you not answering my prayers?” tend to make us want to blame God for we do believe He has the power to intervene. His sovereign silence brings about more depression as He does not seem to have the desire to intervene.
Boy, I have been in the depths of depression, angry that God did not intervene! The natural tendency is to pull away and not draw near as if we can punish God and protect ourselves from Him. I have tried it all — manipulation, guilt trips, threats. After “not getting my way” time and time again, I decided to change the approach and do better this last time knowing that God will allow us to take the test over and over until we pass.
What I’ve noticed is that as I make the effort daily to depend on Him despite the circumstances, He will one day — someday — in His time — make circumstantial changes. There might be years of sovereign silence until we align ourselves with accepting His lack of willingness to bring change in our desired timing. God needs to remain God in our lives, despite our thoughts to believe we know better than Him.
It does come down to the simple fact of being faithful to move forward in faith regardless of how hard it gets. “Lord, I will trust You. Lord, I am trusting You. Lord, I believe You heard me the first time I prayed for change. Lord, are we good because I know You are?”
And in a day, everything can change. It is the day that Jesus’ followers look forward to. In light of that time to come, the apostle Peter tells us how the believer can live with a joyful purpose despite the circumstance (2 Peter 3:10-18). We can look upward by living Christ-honoring lives (v.11). We can look inward by making every effort to be found at peace with God (v.14). And we can look outward by being on guard so we aren’t carried away by the wrong influence of others (v.17).
There is a day coming when righteousness and faithfulness will meet together; there is a day coming when our tears will be turned into rejoicing; there is a day coming when God will take his hands and wipe the tears from our eyes and say you are home!
There’s more to this life than what we see so we set our eyes on things above where Christ is seated for their is no other way to live and it is no other One to live for.