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I read Stephen Fry’s sad but honest description of his depression just now. His feelings of loneliness in the midst of a crowd of wonderful people are probably familiar to many of you who struggle with depression. I know exactly what he means when he says that even though he feels lonely, “[t]he strange thing is, if you see me in the street and engage in conversation I will probably freeze into polite fear and smile inanely until I can get away to be on my lonely ownsome.” I’ve been feeling like that a lot lately, knowing it’s better for me to be around people but just wanting to hide in my room.

Then I opened my email and very next thing I read was my daily WordLive email, which I’d been ignoring all morning. The first line read:

'He sets the lonely in families' (Psalm 68:6) Thank God for your church family.

Well that was definitely a word to point me to the truth! I love it when that happens.

It doesn’t mean that the feelings of loneliness, sadness and anxiety that come with depression are absent in that kind of community (far from it!), and it doesn’t mean that church families are perfect, because they certainly aren’t. But it does mean that God did not intend for us to be alone (even if we’re severely introverted or depressed). He has created communities of people who love him, and as an outworking of that, love each other.

It would probably irritate Stephen Fry to think that something he wrote drew me closer to God. Maybe it wouldn’t. I don’t know.