by John Piper
Does being depressed mean that something is wrong with our hope?
Every Christian who struggles with depression struggles to keep their hope clear. There is nothing wrong with the object of their hope–Jesus Christ is not defective in any way whatsoever. But the view from the struggling Christian’s heart of their objective hope could be obscured by disease and pain, the pressures of life, and by Satanic fiery darts shot against them. We all have to fight the same way, by getting our views of Christ and his promises clear every hour of every day. All discouragement and depression is related to the obscuring of our hope, and we need to get those clouds out of the way and fight like crazy to see clearly how precious Christ is.
This means we should help each other see Christ, right?
Yes. It seems that whenever one person is struggling—whether in a family, church, or small group—another person is given strength. The point of that is so that the body would work together and the strong would minister to the weak. Then the roles might be reversed the very next week or month, and the one who was just weak becomes strong to help the other who has now become weak. The weakness can be psychological, spiritual, or physical. But the strength should flow back and forth between us.
As we come up out of a discouragement we should minister to others.
This is exactly what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:4 where he speaks about comforting others with the comfort with which he had been comforted by God. God ordains that one person walk through a valley, find comfort in the valley, come out, turn around, go back to the beginning of that same valley, and help other people walk through it with the very comforts they discovered there. We miss some of our greatest blessings by not enduring through hardship in our own families or in a church. God has things to teach us through hardship that we will not learn if we flee from it every time it comes.