By Charles R. Grisham

How do you help people who are down to get up and try again? All of us have been there and will no doubt be there again.

Dom is a comedian, not a theologian or a psychologist. But he offers this excellent advice on dealing with depression. People who are feeling down don’t take advice. If I were to give advice, I would tell them to find somebody else who is in trouble. Go to hospitals, go to a person in need and do something for them. Leave all your troubles. Try to get a smile on their faces. DeLuise even indulges in a little theology. He says, “What happens is, God says, ‘Because you cared about others, I will give you a good feeling.’ And that feeling is genuine! It doesn’t come from a candy bar. It doesn’t come from cocaine. It comes from helping other people.”

That’s pretty good advice. As someone has said, “There are ten ways to get over the blues. The first is to help someone else. Next, repeat that nine times.” Help somebody else? You must be kidding! I’m the one who needs help! I’m the one who needs encouragement! Sometimes that attitude is not only the nature of the illness, but the roadblock to healing.

In my experience as a Pastor and in counselling others I have found that those who fail to reach out to others fail to recover from discouragement and depression. Those who reach out to others experience recovery in their own lives. Healing is a cooperative experience. It’s amazing what service does for the servant; what helping does for the helper.

As a minister there are very few days that are very far removed from the extremities of emotion; death, pain, loss, disappointment, anger, bitterness, etc. When we are faced with dealing with these things in the lives of others we pray and search for words of comfort and direct/on as the Lord helps us. We marvel at how God strengthens and sees us through.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life that no man can truly help another without helping himself.” You can’t handle a rose without the fragrance touching you.

All of these powerful principles have been demonstrated in my own life recently. Having experienced the loss of my only brother and then a few days later the loss of my daughter, Lorna, to cancer dealt a painful blow to our whole family. Preaching these two funerals less than a week apart left the heart broken, the emotions strained to the limit and physical strength depleted.

As we groped for direction, our friends began to reach to us to lift us. Bro. T.F. Tenney spoke to me by phone and said, “Bro. Charles, I don’t know that I have any Word from the Lord for you, but as I told another minister recently in a similar situation; just do what you have been telling others to do in your ministry.” I thought that over carefully. I must obey my own preaching.

Then as I talked with Bro. and Sis. Jimmy Shoemake who lost a son a few years ago; they too, helped me so much. They related how they tried to do all the things that others told them would help. Take time off to rest, go away for awhile, etc. They said they did all these things which no doubt helped, but their real help and strength came when they were in church in the presence of the Lord. My good friend, Bro. Floyd Odum, related to me that after the loss of his daughter, Bro. Nathaniel Urshan gave him sound advice to heal his broken heart. He said, “Bro. Odum, your healing will come through your ministry. As soon as possible, get back into the flow of ministering to others. Your healing will come.”

All of these things really ring true. We have found that we do need rest, relaxation and a time of reflection. All of that is healthy and necessary. We have benefitted from getting away for a few days, but our strength and renewal comes from the Lord. It’s amazing how good we feel when we are in His presence.

I came across this statement recently. It is a powerful truth and it works: “Ministry is giving when you feel like keeping Praying for others when you need to be prayed for Feeding others when your own soul is hungry Living truth before people when you can’t see results Hurting with other people even when your own hurt can’t be spoken Keeping your word even when it is not convenient Being faithful when your flesh wants to run away”

Jesus said the way to save your own life is to give it away. He Should know – He lived that way. As the song says:

I’ll be up again, Just you wait and see,
Rough times won’t keep me down,
They’ll just send me to my knees;
And there while I’m in prayer,
God will give the victory song,
And I’ll be up again where I belong

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy,
When I fall, I shall arise,
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy,
In the darkest night, The Lord will be my light!

And I’ll be up again….where I belong.

Charles Grisham is a pastor, counselor and inspirational writer. This article was first published in the Apostolic Writers’ Digest Nov. 1995.