trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

It's Complicated

Wisdom of a heart laid bare before God

Proverbs 12:25

25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad.

Proverbs 14:13

13 Even in laughter the heart may sorrow,
And the end of mirth may be grief.

Proverbs 28:1

1 The wicked flee when no one pursues,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.


Have you struggled with depression? If so, then you know that it is generally characterized by two things: one, a feeling of being hopeless, lost, or adrift in life while everyone and everything else seems to move around you unfeeling or uncaring. And two, that every attempt to help you seems misguided or ineffective.  

British actor Stephen Fry describes his lifelong struggle with depression–and the attempts of others to help him: 

If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.–Stephen Fry

Does the heavy weather of life darken your skies? Or perhaps you can remember back to a time when it did. What did you do? Maybe you isolated yourself in an attempt to lessen the impact on others, or have to deal with the good intentions of helpful friends. 

You probably tried to “fix it.” You knew and wanted to snap out of it, to get out of the storm, but every umbrella had holes. You tried to cover the pain or compensate by cheering up others, but that never lasted. As the laughter faded you were right back where you started.

Comedian Robin Williams had side-splitting stand-up routines and starred in some of the funniest films ever made. Directors would simply turn the camera on him and he would improvise scenes in one take that would become comedy gold. Williams was America’s funny man–but he was under a dark overcast:  

I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.–Robin Williams

Sadly, Robin ended his life in 2014, after a long struggle with depression. It was later discovered that he suffered from early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. As he battled anxiety, insomnia, and depression he knew that his mind was going, and it was too much to bear.

Solomon knows that sometimes life in this sinful world can be too much for you to bear. Here, in chapter 12, he shines the bright light of God’s encouragement on this–and also reveals a solution that seems both too simple and to easy to believe: 

25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad.–Proverbs 12:25

Solomon certainly knew about anxiety in life. As the son of King David, he knew the burden of the weight of succession and the large shoes that he would need to fill as king. Upon taking the throne, a power struggle took place in which Solomon fought for his life against rivals–even to the point of purging them by force. Throughout his reign, Solomon amassed wealth and made alliances with other kingdoms, but in the end struggled for power against rivals like Jereboam. 

It was not easy to be the king, for Solomon knew what Henry IV would later state in the voice of William Shakespeare: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

What crown do you struggle to wear? Solomon speaks of “anxiety” in a term that means emotional distress–worry about losing something vital to life. What do you worry about? It could be the loss of a loved one, a job, or the respect of others. It could be a million things–or nothing at all. The mind is a deep well of worry.

 Anxiety, no matter its source, will lead to depression. The translation here is a bit on-the-nose. The Hebrew here is יַשְׁחֶ֑נָּה (“yashenah”), and means “to weigh down.” Like the Psalm of Solomon’s father David sings:

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.–Psalm 42:5

Anxiety can literally weigh you down and make you feel as if you are walking at the bottom of the sea: a trillion gallons of water pressing on every side, and sunlight but a faded ripple far above.

What causes or triggers this weight of anxiety on your heart? There are many reasons, but it can come at you under simple guises, each one serving to crush your spirit and rob you of your joy. Pastor Tim Keller, who has himself a suffered from depression, describes this as:

A crushed spirit, then, is to look out at life and to have no desire for it, have little or no joy in it, have no passion to get out there and deal with it.–Timothy Keller

One cause of anxiety may be physical. Like Robin Williams, you too may suffer from a medical ailment that can lead to direct suffering or struggle. Often medication that you take for healing can have side effects that cause deep depression, making things worse.

Physical anxiety can come from post-childbirth depression, chronic pain, or even the hard truth of growing older. If you have ever stared into the mirror (or avoided them) and counted facial lines or gray hairs, wondering where your youthful bloom went, then you are in good and numerous company. 

Another cause of spirit-crushing anxiety is pure emotion. You can let them get the better of you quickly. You are stirred up by politics, rejection, loneliness, or when your spouse is not speaking your “love language.” 

You can be overwhelmed by feelings to the point that they steer you to and fro. The pressure to act and feel in certain ways can suffocate, sapping joy, and making you the saddest in the room despite your frozen smile. As Solomon says:

13 Even in laughter the heart may sorrow,
And the end of mirth may be grief.–Proverbs 14:13

A third and powerful way that anxiety crushes you is spiritual. Do you struggle with the guilt of past sins, or a litany of sinful habits you cannot seem to break? Is it difficult to trust God in the midst of all the turmoil of politics, cultural chaos, balancing your checkbook, and dealing with the kids? 

When God is too small in your life, then your problems seem massive in comparison. He is greater than the next presidential race, the rumbles of war, the unrest in the streets, and the damage caused by your own sins. Solomon puts his finger on your guilty conscience:

1 The wicked flee when no one pursues,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.–Proverbs 28:1

You are beginning to get the picture now that you are a complicated person, and the reasons for your struggles are just as complicated. This is a problem because you tell yourself, “there MUST be an easy fix.” Society, tradition, and even the church seems to demand a quick and simple fix too. 

Because of this, self-help books and solutions abound. Every new “cure” for anxiety seeks to reduce your troubles to one easily marketed thing: more exercise, more “me time,” more vitamin supplements, more fulfillment.

So you tell yourself: I need a better job, a more sensitive spouse, a nicer home…and on, and on. But in the end, it all will come to nothing.

We even do this to each other as Christians. What do people say to you when they realize you are struggling under this crush? “You need to read the Bible more” or, “you need to pray.” Christian self-help riddles the church with superficiality. Welsh preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes this in his incredible book on spiritual depression:

We are all in such a hurry, we want everything at once. We believe that all truth can be stated in a few minutes. The answer to that is that it cannot.–Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Spiritual Depression”

This is because your anxiety is in your heart, not just your psyche Your heart is your core commitments–the things you hold most dear. It is the ultimate “you,” as you have been created by God. And you are complex, just like the things that weigh you down.

The only solution to the complexity that is you and the complications of your life, is the complex One who has created you thus. You have to set your heart on Him as your ultimate trust.

You are not a quick fix, nor are your problems wished away, but God has not given up on you. On the contrary, He is gentle and loving:

3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and smoking flax he will not quench
;—Isaiah 42:3 

After His betrayal, Jesus gently asked Peter three times “do you love me?” This both broke Peter’s heart and restored him to his savior and friend. Peter was crushed by guilt, and Jesus could have finished him off–but he loved him instead.

And He loves you. 

How do you find your ultimate comfort in Christ? You must come to grips with the understanding that there is no quick fix–but there is an ultimate fix in Him. You will indeed need to pray and read your bible, but as you know this may not immediately cause the clouds to pass over. 

You must seek encouragement and hope. This comes from the Bible, for there is no greater hope than the Gospel. Jesus willingly went to the cross for you and all of your sin–He has conquered all! This also comes from your fellow travelers, other believers who have struggled too. Seek to give and to accept kind words from others, for this “makes the heart glad.” As commentator Bruce Waltke reveals:

Whereas anxiety can zombify a person, the personal, pleasant, timely, and wise word restores with encouragement and hope.–Bruce Waltke

Do you accept encouragement from those who love you? Do you seek to encourage others? You never know what a kind word can do to revive the spirit, as Jacob’s spirit revived when he learned that Joseph was alive in Egypt (Genesis 45:27). 

You must realize that the path you are on may be a long one, but it is the only sure path that you can walk. The only cure for your crushing anxiety and all of its causes, is to work it out with the one who loves you most. This means turning away from your own inner voice, and seeking His voice. As Lloyd-Jones urges:

…this other man within us, has got to be handled. Do not listen to him; turn on him; speak to him; condemn him; upbraid him; exhort him; encourage him; remind him of what you know, instead of listening placidly to him and allowing him to drag you down and depress you.–Lloyd-Jones

The only way to handle the “other” you, is to replace him with your heavenly Father:

Unless you’re living with every aspect of your being before God, you are going to have despondency. You are going to have out-of-control emotions. You’re going to have despair. You’re going to have a crushed spirit you will not be able to remedy.–Timothy Keller

You are a complicated person, and your problems just as complex, and you see that you cannot simply fix things by having more “quiet time.” The solution is not just you and your bible, but all of the tools that God has given you: read the Word and pray, seek the encouragement of friends–and be an encouragement to them. 

Songwriter Michael Card captures the depths of despair and the hope of ultimate joy in his song "The Edge." No matter how dark the clouds in your life can be, they are no match for the bright light of Christ:

I realize that though my world
Might seem so torn apart
Most often it is joy that breaks the heart
And that I am the richest man
Though I must beg for bread
For the very One who might condemn
Has called me friend instead




The Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay and this Saturday Deep is written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.