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In times of crisis, when well-meaning people advise you to “have faith,” they often make it sound simple, as if it’s possible to magically “have” something as elusive as faith on command. That’s nearly as unhelpful as telling someone who’s suffering from depression to simply “feel better.” 

Every step on the path to depression recovery requires courage and commitment on your part, all summed up in one powerful word: choice. You must choose to seek help and choose to pursue the remedies you are offered before you can tap into their healing potential.

Faith is no different. It’s not an ethereal “thing” we try to grasp; it’s more like an action—something we do on purpose. True, God is willing and able to meet you exactly where you are and to carry you for as long as it takes to restore your strength. In fact, I believe it would astonish us to see how often we benefit from God’s unseen work around us. But faith is our part to play to actively complete the circuit of God’s love. We do that by choosing to believe we are not alone—through sheer force of will, if necessary—when the night is at its darkest. God does not need our faith; we do. His strength does not wane; ours does.

Faith, precisely because it begins with a determined choice, is a jolt of energy that activates our spiritual and emotional immune system as nothing else can. How? By opening the door to the one thing that all people who suffer from depression feel they have lost forever: hope. As the writer of the book of Hebrews assures us, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (11:1).

That writer knew what it meant to hope for something we can’t yet see, and he understood that active, determined faith sustains us while we wait for the thing we want to materialize and work to make it so. We might face a health crisis, relationship strain, job loss, or financial problems. Not every hardship we endure will turn out exactly the way we want, but we have the assurance that these things will ultimately result according to God’s will and God’s best for us. We have this confidence because our faith does not rest in fate or chance or any other thing on earth. Our faith is in God, who is unfailingly good.

One way or another, you always choose how to face your life, with confidence or with doubt, in strength or in defeat. Given those options, why not choose the power of faith?

Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 39 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.