Seeing in the Dark
"Seeing in the Dark: Biblical Meditations for People Dealing with Depression" by Ronald D. Vaughan is available in paperback and ebook format at www.helwys.com, www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and iTunes. See some direct purchase links at the end of the article as well.
I wrote Seeing the Dark to settle a dare and answer a prayer. In the darkest days of my depression, my talks with God, more, at times, like jeers at God, were very caustic and sarcastic. In one of those crying out moments, when I felt no hope for myself, my ministry, or my future, I said to God, “If all things really can work together for my good, prove it. Bring something good out of this hell. I dare you.” I later realized that my dare was, in fact, a prayer. I was drowning in depression and needed to believe God was still with me and working in some redemptive way I couldn’t yet see.
As I began to see specks of light in my darkness and began making some progress in the journey toward healing, God gave me many opportunities to share what I was discovering with other depressed people. I soon realized that some of my most significant ministry would be with people stumbling in depression’s darkness, longing to discover enough light to guide them in finding their way. The growth and gratitude I saw in my fellow pilgrims settled the dare I’d made and answered the prayer within it.
Seeing in the Dark is my testimony that God can redeem even something as dark and difficult as depression by giving those who make it through the valley gifts of experience and insight they can share with others to help them see light in their emotional and spiritual darkness.
I took several steps on my journey of writing Seeing in the Dark. The book began with a list I made while I was in the very dark days of my illness. I called that list “Wisdom.” Any time I read, heard, or thought of something that shone a bit of light on my illness and illumined the next step of the path toward healing, I wrote it down. The list includes scripture passages that spoke to me at a time when spiritual truth was very difficult to hear. The list also contains quotations that offered me a helpful word. Many of the items on the list were discoveries I made in working with my doctors and counselors.
When better days came and I was ready to speak publicly about my illness, I suddenly had numerous opportunities to minister with people struggling with depression. I shared some of the truth I’d learned through sermons, small group work, and especially in counseling individuals. Through these opportunities to put what pain had taught me to work, I saw that some of the wisdom I’d gained had value for others dealing with depression. In helping these people search for their answers, I confirmed and refined what I believed about depression and how we can survive it and actually grow through the experience.
The joy and meaning I found in supporting other depression sufferers motivated me to find a way to share help and hope with a broader audience through a book. Two years ago, I began writing what I’d learned in the form of brief Biblical meditations. I intentionally kept each meditation short because I know depressed people don’t have the focus or energy to wade through long treatises. I designed each meditation to be a daily dose of spiritual insight and encouragement.
Ronald D. Vaughan is pastor of St. Andrews Baptist Church in Columbia, SC. A native of Greenville, South Carolina, he is a graduate of Furman University (BA) and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv, DMin). In forty years of ministry, Dee, as most people know him, has served as pastor of five congregations, a hospital chaplain, a fire department chaplain, and a college and graduate school teacher. He and his wife, Linda, have three children and three grandchildren.
Direct links to the book: