This is the
Testimony of Gerald (Jerry ) Bouey, a dear brother in the Lord, whom
we've gotten to know through email. His poems have been an
encouragement and inspiration many times.
Please read my
whole testimony even if you disagree with some of my opening
statements. Some of the conclusions I have reached after going
through my battles with depression.
First of all,
my family has a history of depression, so I am speaking
somewhat from experience. My dad has dealt with depression his
whole life – unsuccessfully I might add, as he is unsaved
and clearly rejects Christ. My brother struggles with it a
lot, and for the most part, lets it overcome his life. He made
a profession of faith in November 2000, and when he spends
serious time in the Word of God and prayer, the sun breaks
through the clouds of gloom, even if it is only temporarily in
his case. I also deal with it; and though I don’t let it
overcome me that often, there are seasons where the battle is
have learned through studying the Bible that the Lord
doesn’t allow for a Christian to stay in depression and
discouragement. There are examples of God’s children that
struggled with this, but the Lord didn’t let them stay
there. He always provides a way of escape. There hath no
temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is
faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye
are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to
escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians
10:13. Yes, Jesus has tremendous compassion on those going
through discouraging trials, but He wants us to be victorious,
not overcome by them.
there may be many factors that influence someone to be
depressed or discouraged, Biblically, there is only one root
cause: our own sinful nature. I know it is not
politically-correct to state this fact, but either modern
society is right and it is not our fault if we let ourselves
get overcome by discouragement, or the Word of God is right
about it when it says in James 1:13-16, Let no man say when
he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted
with evil, neither tempteth He any man: But every man is
tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin,
when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my
beloved brethren. (Why does it say, do not err? Because we
tend to deceive ourselves about this very thing. If we say
that we are not responsible, and that there is nothing we can
do about it, then we make God the author of our sin. James
says this is a grievous error!)
While we cannot
control our situations, we can control our attitude,
responses, and focus. Depression comes when we take our eyes
off of Jesus Christ and place them onto our situation. Our
vision gets out of focus and our problems seem distorted,
somehow seeming larger than the Lord in our lives. Our focus
needs to be single – focused back on Christ. (See Matthew
6:21-23; Colossians 3:1-2, 22.) No matter what may influence
you towards being depressed and discouraged, the Bible offers
many promises and passages of comfort that will help you
overcome and be victorious today. Jesus will give you the
grace to stand if you stay focused on Him and His Word. You
can have the victory each day this trial comes your way; but
that doesn’t mean there won’t be a struggle or warfare.
there is no way you can be victorious in the Christian life
until you are in fact a Christian. If you have never turned to
the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and faith, believing that
He paid the complete penalty for your sins when He died on the
cross, was buried, and physically resurrected on the third
day, then you will never be victorious in this battle until
you come to the Saviour, and let Him save you. If you don’t
remember a time or place that you trusted in Jesus Christ for
salvation, I would encourage you to do so today. Today is the
day of salvation, to quote the Apostle Paul. Once you become a
child of God, you will find the grace and strength you need to
overcome all of life’s battles in the Word of God, in
prayer, and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57. “Giveth” is present
tense, and means that He continually gives us the victory
through Jesus Christ.
My worst battle
with depression began the winter of 2000. I had no family
nearby. My sister was living in Arizona, and my brother had
just moved out of Kelowna. Christmas was coming up, and I let
myself get discouraged, thinking about how I would be spending
it all by myself that year. I started to get very lonely and
focused on my situation. Over the next few months, my
attendance at church was irregular, and I started avoiding the
other Christians in my life even the few that were reaching
out to me. (One thing to never do when you are depressed is to
I found it
increasingly difficult to overcome the loneliness, and started
being so depressed that it showed outwardly to others.
Unfortunately, one of my coworkers encouraged me to go to a
nearby bar and hang around with some of the crowd there, play
some pool, and have the occasional drink. I ignored his advice
for a few weeks, but the closer it came to Christmas, the more
I thought about it. I started going to the bar after work, met
a few “friends”, and started playing pool. I was so
nervous about being around this crowd that I started drinking
to relax. Over the next few months, I got very involved in the
pool playing and used it as an excuse to be around this crowd,
even if I didn’t drink every night.
I learned right away were: you can go through a lot of money
quickly, alcohol doesn’t help depression – it strengthens
it! – and it was all empty and vain. The drinking and
ungodly company (not to mention the music and atmosphere) did
not fulfill, but made me empty inside. The more I pursued this
course, the more I was convicted about it. So now I not only
had my depression bringing me down, I had the Holy Spirit
convicting me of my sin (which made me more depressed because
I did not repent of it at that point in time), and I had the
accuser of the brethren knocking me down because of my
compromise and ruined testimony. To quote a line from one of
my poems, The Prodigal Has Come Home, “The swine husks could
never truly satisfy, And oh how soon the wine became tasteless
By the time I
got sick of the drinking, and wanted to clean up my life, I
realized that some of my sins during that time had caught up
with me. I made some associations that were not easy to break
away from, including a “friend” that turned out to be very
bad news and would not let me back away from the bar-scene. In
desperation on how to deal with this person, I pleaded with
God to help me separate from him. He died of cancer very
shortly thereafter. This shows me that it is a serious thing
to cause a child of God to stumble. That was a very sobering
and scary fact to realize!
I found that it
wasn’t as easy as I thought to get out of the pit I had dug
for myself. I realized that some of the crowd at the bar were
very immoral and perverted, and I can only praise God that He
prevented me from walking into sexual immorality. I find that
the fear of man brings a snare, and that I have the hardest
time trying to witness to anyone that I knew from the bar, or
that knew I had gone there. I had shot myself in the foot,
regarding my testimony with these people.
The first step
was to completely break away from those “friends”, and the
bar itself. That done, it took me awhile to get back on my
feet spiritually as I was still struggling with loneliness and
self-pity. The woe-is-me syndrome. Somehow I had convinced
myself that the battle I was going through was unique to me,
despite what the Word of God teaches. He fashioneth their
hearts alike. There hath no temptation taken you but such as
is common to man. …Knowing that the same afflictions are
accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
(Psalm 33:15; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Peter 5:9.)
I was having a
hard time getting back into the Word of God until I came
across the account of Christ’s betrayal. Then it hit me:
Christ went through loneliness, betrayal, discouragement,
suffering. He went through worse than you or I will ever go
through; and He did that because of His love for us. This was
the clincher for me. Jesus could relate to my depression, and
He overcame. So could I! He kept His focus on His Heavenly
Father, and continually submitted His will to His Father’s
will. He prayed so fervently there in the garden, when Satan
tried to overwhelm Him with sorrow and heaviness of heart,
that He sweat drops of blood. This showed the tremendous
stress He was under, but He was victorious!
After I was
restored to the Lord and strengthened in my walk, I wrote a
poem called Take A Second Look At Calvary, which was my way to
remind myself that the battle could be won by focusing on the
Lord Jesus Christ and not on myself.
Second Look At Calvary
I went through times of loneliness,
I thought, “Lord, where were You?
Don’t You know, Lord, can’t You see
all this pain I’m going through?”
Then in the midst of my devotions,
I was thunderstruck one day
When I realized: in my Saviour’s darkest hours all
His friends had turned away.
I struggled through depression,
I cried, “Lord, where were You?
Can’t You take these doubts and fears away;
help me somehow make it through?”
But I knelt in sweet submission,
surrendered all and my heart was still,
As I remembered my blessed Saviour praying, “Not
Mine, but Your will.”
my heart ached in bitter anguish,
grief-struck and broken too,
I cried through tears of agony,
“Oh my Lord, where were You?
I can’t fight this battle anymore,
I can’t overcome this gloom.”
Then in my self-pity, I recalled,
that Jesus wept at Lazarus’ tomb.
I think that I’m forsaken,
bitter, anguished and alone,
I remember that my Saviour
made all my pain His own.
He tasted death, He suffered much,
He was tempted, tried, beset,
And in all His trials and afflictions,
Jesus loved me yet.
of sorrows - He knew our grief,
He bore our sin and shame,
He was forsaken by God above
that we may never be again.
He was wounded for our transgressions –
as the Bible has revealed -
But most of all, Jesus shed His blood
and by His stripes we are healed.
when you are feeling lonely, depressed,
and are haunted by your grief,
Here’s a solution that, through eyes of faith,
will surely bring relief:
When you are wondering if the Lord cares
and if He is watching from above,
Take a second look at Calvary –
and there behold God’s wondrous love!
meditations won the victory for me. I took my eyes off of
myself and put them back on the Lord, where they belonged. I
acknowledged that I had wandered, confessed my sins to God,
and started walking with Him again.
(2001), our church started a Sunday School bus ministry, which
I got involved in from the start. I didn’t think I would
enjoy working with the kids but it has been a blessing, and it
keeps me out of trouble on my days off. I am more active in
witnessing, and developing my website. I was busy “waiting
upon (serving) the Lord.”
struck again this past winter, I chose not to get side-tracked
and fall into sin. I started to get discouraged the closer it
came to Christmas, and I pleaded with God for more grace.
Everytime I felt overwhelmed - and sometimes it was fierce!
– I cried out to the Lord, praying fervently for peace and
Scripture passages to remind me where my focus should be. The
bus ministry helped. I was not left alone, nor was I isolating
myself. Because I chose to seek the Lord first, and not my own
self-will, He honoured that and provided for me in so many
ways this winter. Financially, emotionally, socially, and
spiritually. My landlord’s family (who are members in my
church) started inviting me over for lunches or suppers, and
this helped me more than I realized. The Lord has set this
solitary person into a family. (See Psalm 68:6.) Their house
has literally become my second home. Angela, my landlord, made
me up a frame with my poem inside (the one quoted above) to
remind me of where I continually needed to be looking – at
the Lord. So many times I’ve read and reread the words of
that poem, and stopped my self-pity trip before it could gain
Some of the
Scriptures that the Holy Spirit has brought to my mind this
past winter were:
Psalm 27:14, Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He
shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
(My heart has definitely been strengthened over and over.)
Isaiah 58:9, Then
shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry,
and He shall say, Here I am. (Oh, precious, precious
promises! He was there for me whenever I needed Him. Though I
fail Him, He has never failed me!)
Isaiah 26:3-4, Thou
wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee:
because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever:
for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength. (Perfect
means complete. If I keep my part of the promise by staying
steadfastly focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, He will keep His
promise to give me His perfect peace. See also Philippians
Isaiah 40:31, But
they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they
shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not
be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Mount up
means to rise, to ascend. I can soar above my problems, and
not be weighed down with them!)
1 Peter 5:7, Casting
all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. And Psalm
55:22, Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain
thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Ephesians 4:7, But
unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure
of the gift of Christ. (Yes, He gives the measure of grace
I need when I abide in Jesus Christ!)
33:27, The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are
the everlasting arms. (The Lord Jesus Christ is my refuge!
Believe me, if you are searching the Scriptures, this theme is
repeated over and over in the Word of God!)
I dealt with an
ongoing battle with discouragement within the last two months.
This one had to do with my brother. He got depressed again,
and was trying to place the blame on everyone but himself. He
wanted the Lord to magically take away his depression, but he
didn’t want to maintain his walk with Him. He called me on
March 11th, and twisted some things I said while I was trying
to exhort him to get right with the Lord. I tried to clear up
what he was saying to no avail. He hung up. Then he called me
back an hour later, telling me that he almost committed
suicide and it was all my fault. Boom! The bomb dropped, and I
was devastated! I had to take an hour off of work to go to a
nearby coffee shop to just pray and read my Bible. I was
determined to keep my eyes on the Lord, and pleaded with God
to give me peace and comfort. Then I searched the Scriptures.
Passages about peace of mind, and about God being our refuge
came to mind, and I devoured all I could find. Some of these
became the Scripture references I quoted in my poetry book.
Several verses out of Psalms 18 and 91 comforted me greatly at
this time, and were major sources of strength.
On March 12th,
I was reflecting on the fact that I felt so much closer to the
Lord as a result of that trial, that I counted the trial joy
because of that. My poem Count It All Joy was written that
day. If you read it in light of the particular trial that I
went through, and my victory in Jesus, then you will realize I
am not just spouting words without meaning and just quoting
Scripture verses, but am relating what I have personally
all joy, my brethren, for the trials in this race.
Count it all joy, my brethren, as you seek the Saviour’s
Jesus is with you through every trial.
He will stand by you all the while.
Count it all joy.
all joy, my brethren, for the trials that you’ve seen.
Count it all joy, my brethren, for nothing can come
And separate you from the Lord.
Just cling to Jesus and His Word.
Count it all joy.
all joy, my brethren, this trial is but for a season.
Count it all joy, my brethren, the Lord has planned it for
He is working out all things for your good,
As only our Heavenly Father could.
Count it all joy.
Count it all
joy, my brethren, for the trials that you go through.
Count it all joy, my brethren, for the fires that purify
As He molds this vessel to perfection,
Someday Jesus will behold His reflection.
Count it all joy.
count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing
this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let
patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and
entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4.
to be the end of that particular trial. My brother tried to
overdose on his medications and was hospitalized for several
days at the end of March. Again, I fled to Jesus for refuge,
and there I stayed. And it wasn’t a rollercoaster ride for
once, but a mountaintop experience, even though I was going
through a valley. Seems almost a contradiction, but it
isn’t. Jesus is still giving me the victory! I am more than
a conqueror through Him. I CAN do all things through Christ
which strengtheneth me! My mind is staying steadfast on the
Lord and I have His peace, even when my world is turbulent.
whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is
the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1
be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ…
2 Corinthians 2:14.
It is God
that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He
maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high
places. Psalm 18:32-33.
has set me upon my high places and given me the victory!
Jerry (Gerald) Bouey.
Eagle's Wings Ministries.
Copyright . All articles are the sole property of SeekGod.ca and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.
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