Restore us, God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved. (Psalm 80:7)
One treatment method for depression is light therapy. This can be especially helpful for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It has been found that for some, more light can help transform a dark mood and give the person just the lift needed to function more effectively.
There is another kind of Light therapy referred to in this verse of the Psalmist. God’s face shines upon us when we are lost in darkness and saves us from troubled times. The Light of God’s love restores us so we can keep moving forward in faith. This Light therapy is better than the conventional kind in that it is always available and never runs out.
The prophet Isaiah pointed to this Light ages ago –
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)
There is nothing better, nothing more uplifting, than coming out of the darkness of despair and walking in the nourishing Light God offers in Christ. But as with conventional light therapy, we need to be nourished by the Light regularly to receive the most benefits. If we only turn to the Light for a few minutes one day (like praying before a meal) and then we go weeks, months, even years without encountering it, we are not likely to remain spiritually uplifted.
There have been many days in my journey with bipolar when I have felt so depressed that I shut the shades rather than let the light stream in. There is something seductively familiar (though not truly satisfying) about hiding in the darkness where there is less responsibility, less accountability, less of a chance my flaws will be revealed. Yet, ultimately, I need to let God’s Light stream into my darkness if I am to be made whole.
Jesus Christ is Light of the world. As the Psalmist says of God –
… even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:12)
There is no darkness in which we can hide from God. Stepping into the light, and letting the Light of Christ shine in our lives, is the best thing we can do for ourselves – now and forever.