Engaging the Darkness - 3 Keys to Waging the War on Depression


Nate Buchanan - Middle School Director

I can feel it coming on. At times it feels as though I’m at a train station that has two destinations. One is to happiness and joy; the other is to despair and disappointment. As I’m staring at my ticket, I’m overwhelmed at how many times the latter destination has been punched. 

All aboard!

As I depart, I feel a cold sweat break over me. I’m on the wrong track again. As I’m drawing closer and closer to the place I don’t want to be, I feel powerless against my thoughts, my emotions, and my actions. 

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’re a frequent visitor with a platinum pass to this place of terror, loneliness, and self-loathing. If so — prepare for battle. This is how we wage the war on depression…


Key #1 — Gather Intel

Before patrols in Afghanistan, we would conduct Pre-Patrol Checks to make sure we had all of our equipment. First, I would check myself, then, I would have a buddy check me. The reason this was done was to ensure that I had all my mission critical equipment before entering a war zone. 

In a similar way, when you can sense yourself slipping into a funk that leads to unhappiness, you need to do a spiritual check to see what is throwing you off. When you feel the moodiness, anxiety, anger and despair coming on, a battle is rising. Conduct a Pre-Patrol Check (PPC) on yourself and then ask someone to identify these areas with you. Look for the following…

1. Hidden Sin   

2. Self-Neglect of Grace  

3. Closeness with God

4. Trials and Sufferings

5. Physical Tiredness

6. Time Management (Capacity)

Key #2 — Use Proper Ammo

“Never shoot a large caliber man with a small caliber bullet.” - Frogman’s Ballad (US Navy SEALS) 

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”
2 Corinthians 10:3-4

If we are going to prevail in this battle against depression, we must be properly equipped. We must accept that there is a war waging around us and within us that we cannot see. But we must also understand that our enemy does not have the capability to control us. That’s because we are battling a defeated enemy. 

Our arsenal needs to be equipped with an unwavering trust in the Lord, knowledge in His Word, and we must be engaged with a community of believers that are going to bear our burdens (Galatians 6) and fight with us in the trenches. Any military force is only as good as its support — this principle applies to your battle against depression as well. Surround yourself with proper support.

Key #3 — Launch the Assault

The biggest part of launching an effective assault against depression is actually realizing how little we do. Just like when Elisha and his servant seemed outnumbered — with certain destruction and defeat awaiting them — Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” (2 Kings 6:17). And his servant beheld a multitude of angels ready to fight on their behalf. Romans 8:31 says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” God is always present, waiting to do battle on our behalf.

Scripture repeats this theme over and over again — the Lord will fight our battles for us and our only job in launching the assault is to simply place all of our trust in Him:

“You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.” 
Deuteronomy 3:22

“You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.” 
2 Chronicles 20:17

“For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me.”
Psalm 18:39

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail.”
1 Samuel 2:9

“Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.”
Exodus 15:5

There is a blazing light that is found in debilitating darkness. And that light is through faith in Jesus Christ. We’re all inevitably going to find ourselves in dark places.. will you allow the Lord to open your eyes and combat the darkness for you?

If you find yourself in a dark place and would like to meet with someone in our Biblical Soul Care ministry, click the button below for more information.

Nate BuchananNate Buchanan