I'm Sad All the Time

If God loves me so much, why doesn't he help me?
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Q. I am constantly depressed. I cry myself to sleep and feel so stressed. I went to my youth pastor, and he said, "We all have ups and downs, but you will come out of it." I pray, I listen, I seek, but I just can't be happy. Is there any help for me? Or is it a battle I must fight alone with faith that God is by my side? And if God loves me so much, why doesn't he help me?

A. Your youth pastor is right about one thing—all of us have low periods for numerous reasons. However, your words, "constantly depressed," cause me concern. Please make an appointment with a professional counselor. You need to know if what you're feeling is more serious than the "down times" described by your youth pastor. Ask your parents to help you find a Christian counselor. You can locate a Christian counselor by calling New Life Ministries at 1-800-NEW-LIFE. And you'll find some helpful answers and resources at newlife.com.

Several million teenagers suffer from what is called "clinical depression."This isn't something to be scared or ashamed about. Depression just happens. Sometimes it's a result of a chemical imbalance in your brain. Other times, feelings of grief or dissatisfaction just don't seem to go away.

Sometimes we can think someone's "crazy" if they see a counselor. But if you had a sore throat for a long time, you would go to a physician, right? With a combination of medical, psychological and spiritual help, most people can get a lot of relief.

People who suffer from depression say it's like living with a dark cloud in their life. They cry out to God, but still feel this deep sense of darkness and hopelessness. A Christian professional can help you deal with your spiritual questions as well. Many Christ followers have experienced deep depression. You are not alone. And while you may not see it right now, God is with you and is listening to your cries for help. So, along with seeking professional help, I encourage you to continue talking to your loving heavenly Father.

I'd also encourage you to read the Psalms. Even King David, who wrote most of those Psalms, felt depressed at times. When I'm down, I read Psalm 23. It's a great reminder of God's presence in my life when I feel alone and sad: "I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won't be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd's rod makes me feel safe. Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, Lord" (verses 4 and 6, CEV).

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