God's Word on Disability

  • July 13, 2016
  • #8923

Disability and depression are hard to live with, but there are four things we can do to lift our spirits.

God's Word on Disability

Welcome to Joni and Friends. Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada.

Not long ago I was in Kansas City on behalf of our ministry, cheering on our team there, and laying the groundwork for a brand new Family Retreat in that area. After one of my speaking events, I was greeting people, and I met Janice, a young woman who had brought her mother, Eunice. Janice didn’t want to take my photo or have me sign a book; instead, she just wanted me to talk to Eunice; to pray for her. It didn’t appear that her mother had a disability, but I did notice that Eunice’s eyes were red and wet. Apparently, my message that night had meant a lot to her. She couldn’t bring herself to speak, and so Janice explained that her mother was suffering severely from pretty serious depression. “Is that so?” I asked Eunice, and she pressed a tissue to her eyes and nodded, “Yes.” I wasn’t about to rush Janice and her mother off the platform; because I’ve been depressed, and yes, often I still get down. In many ways, depression is harder to deal with than my physical disability. So in a way, as best I could, I understood Eunice’s pain and my heart really went out to her. And so, I did as Janice asked. I prayed right then and there for her dear mother and I am still praying for her as the spirit prompts me.

A disability is hard enough to deal with, but depression is doubly hard. And so, even now, when I begin to sense the blues coming on, I go on the offensive. I don’t wait until my spirit plummets into a pit of depression. No, I’m going to take the initiative and basically do four things. First, I give thanks to God for everything I can give thanks for – great and small things. First Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 18 is a great antidote for the blues. In everything give thanks, it says. And so, throughout the day whether I feel like it or not, I mouth my thanks to God. I force myself to look for things for which I can give thanks, and I tell God so out loud. It’s the best way I can place myself under the shower of God's mercy and grace, if I want my heart to brighten up, then it starts with giving thanks.

Next, for depression I look out for other’s interests before my own. My depression may scream for my undivided attention, my feelings may whine and complain, but I know full well there are others – many others – whose circumstances are far more difficult than mine. So I look for ways to help them, whether it’s with a note, or prayer, or a small gift I can give to lift their spirits, I can do something to brighten their heart.

Third, I take responsibility. Galatians 6 verse 5 tells us we should carry our own load. In other words, we need make choices and take actions to avoid those things that only make your depression worse. Don’t get lost in the television, or in a quart of ice cream, or in magazines or books that only deaden your spirit. As I often tell others, get up, get dressed, open the front door, get out of the house and get into the community and serve others. It shows you are taking responsibility to improve your own well-being, as well as the well-being of other people. Finally, make certain you seek help. If you are seriously depressed you can get help and share your needs with a friend; a friend who can pray for you and cheer you on.

Oh, friend, there’s so much more I could say on this, and so I want to send you a free gift called God's Word on Disability. So go to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and ask for your free gift. And please also join me in praying for Eunice.

© Joni and Friends


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