Thursday, March 10, 2016

Depression and the importance of "being present" with those who struggle in mission

"But God, who comforts the depressed... "(2Co 7:6a NAS)

Part of a discipleship ministry involves the equipping and sending of a "Titus" to bring the presence of God to comfort those struggling with depression.

The Greek word "ταπεινοὺς," (Tapeinoús) translated as "depressed" or lit. "downcast" refers to those struggling with the "relative inability to cope" (BDAG)".

At a time when Paul felt "afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within". (2Co 7:5 NAS) Titus showed up with a renewed spirit and the joy of the Lord and brought encouragement and comfort from the church of Corinth.

At times, when we see fellow believers burdened with the relative inability to cope,  we can be a "Titus" to come alongside to listen with a refreshed spirit and the joy of the Lord to help our hurting friends regain perspective and hope.

When we cannot be physically present with those who are weary in their struggle, we can pray for and send a "Titus" to stand in our stead to be present with those who are weary in the battle.

It is important to note that it was not only the presence of Titus that encouraged Paul, it was the word of "repentance without regret" among the members in the Church of Corinth that encouraged Paul in his depression! How we strive to know Christ and to make Him know at home, directly affects the support and encouragement for our missionaries we send to take the gospel to foreign lands! (2 Cor 7:10-13)

Sometimes, like Paul, we need a Titus to draw near to be present with us when we struggle in our faith.

Let us lean into, and be present with the depression of those who suffer with the "relative inability to cope," to bring perspective, hope and God's presence to those who struggle for the gospel.

"But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus" (2Co 7:6 NAS)

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