Downcast Comforter

           Everyone has a bad day now and again. It seems that even the apostle Paul was not immune to at least slight depression every now and then. And we can hardly blame him. “Are they ministers of Christ?” he says in Second Corinthians11:23-28, “I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches” (NKJ).

             Yes, Paul had reasons to get depressed; yet, he also had the hugest possible reason to pull quickly out of any depressive state. Earlier in the book, when speaking of a different matter, he identified the source of his consolation. In Second Corinthians 7:6, Paul describes God as the One “who comforts the downcast” (NKJ). The Greek word for “downcast” used here is “tapeinos” (tap-i-nos’), which means depressed or humiliated in circumstances or disposition. There’s good news for times when we experience such times. James, the Lord’s brother, uses this word when he says, “Let the lowly—tapeinos, depressed, humiliated—brother glory in his exaltation,” (James 1:9, NKJ) since “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble—tapeinos, depressed, humiliated” James 4:6 (NKJ). You see, Paul could pull out of depression because he was on speaking terms with God as the One who comforts the tapeinos.

            Jesus identifies Himself as God by introducing Himself as being “gentle and lowly (tapeinos) in heart.” We can take His yoke upon us, learn from Him, and find rest in Him for our souls because He can totally identify with where we’re coming from when we’re down. (Matthew 11:29, NKJ).

           Give God an opportunity to comfort you in your depression or humiliation today. He is there to exalt you and supply you with all the grace you will need to get through it.


©2011 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at Also, periodically check in at to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 And pick up a copy of Sharon’s new book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available at Christian bookstores, online, from New Hope Publishers, and from the Life That Matters Ministries’ website.



~ by sanewriter on September 30, 2011.

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