Saturday, November 9, 2013
DESPAIR, DISCOURAGEMENT AND DEPRESSION
Despair, discouragement, depression – this is where David is at the beginning of Psalm 13. I know, because I have been there. My bible study notes declare that David is suffering a physical illness from which he expects to die (vs 3) leaving his enemies a reason to boast of winning the battle. I find this ludicrous. It seems our scholars do not realize the impact that physical exhaustion and mental turmoil can have on our psyches.
The crazy thing is that I fell into mental turmoil reading it:
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart…? (vs 2)
Though I am of little consequence compared to David, I also wrestled often with these feelings of despair, discouragement and the paralyzing effects of depression. By God’s Grace, I have found my way up and out of the need to be paralyzed in such a way because He has shown me how to jump back into His arms when the cliff appears at my feet so that I no longer feel the need to jump in. The temptation arises, but He “enlightened my eyes” (vs 3b) so that I can see the cliff and avoid falling or jumping over it into the abyss.
As David goes on with this conversation, God helps him to “transition” from despair, discouragement and depression to trust and praise. This is a powerful reminder that we can bring anything thing that troubles us to God; but we must allow Him to turn our thoughts back to Him in Praise before we finish our talk. We must make sure that we claim His promises and thank Him for what He will do in answer to our prayer. Even if it is a struggle, we must find our way back to the words He gives us about Himself and who He is to us. David did that.
If my periods of depression where that short… Well actually, they can be very short, now, as long as I remember who He is and how much He loves me; I do not need to go there because He will give me the strength not to, and He will catch me when I jump back into His arms rather than over the cliff.
I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me. (vs6)
Perhaps this is why I sing so loud when I have the chance, rejoicing in the fact that I can “trust (His) unfailing love, (and) my heart rejoices in (His) salvation” (vs 5) I plead guilty to making a joyful “noise” unto the Lord, and I hope those who might hear me will not be discouraged by what they hear. I love my Lord and He loves me. What else is there?
May all of us who struggle with any of these weights on our hearts and in our minds, find our way back in increasingly short periods of heavy hearts, and begin to realize how much God can accomplish in our lives regardless of our circumstances. We are His Beloved and He is our lover, our protector and our refuge in time of any trouble, even mental and heart issue trouble.
May we begin to realize that we are not wrong to find ourselves on the edge of despair; we are only wrong to stay there, not asking and not accepting God’s Grace to pull us back out of our errors in thinking. May we end every bout of doubt with reminders from His words that He is always with us in His unfailing love. We are blessed beyond our understanding. May we recognize this and praise Him daily for all that He is and does and will do in us and through us. Amen.
And Lord, may this disaster in the Philippines be used by you to bring richness into the hearts of those who love and trust you and may it also bring many to realize that they have prayed to someone in their fear and that the only one listening was You. Break hearts for your heavenly glory through this earthly terrible disaster. In Jesus name, Amen.