April 15, 2019

Depression

By: Larry Shaffer

Depression 

Psalms 77 

The very interesting thing I’ve realized about journaling my spiritual insights from my personal Bible studies, (and sharing them with you) is that my writings are affected by the ups and downs of my emotions. I’ve been journeying on this blogging adventure for about three years now. When I am emotionally strong and feeling optimistic about life and God, my writing soars and the process can be exhilarating. During these times, I usually get affirming comments from my readers and the exhilaration extends even further. 

There are other times, however, that my emotions wane and the effects of my sin nature and the burdens of this world capture my attention and I allow a sense of ‘victim-ness’ to overtake me. A victim-ness mentality consists of focusing on the difficulties and stresses of life. For me, it’s looking inward and living inside myself. It can feel like a hole and there’s no easy way out. When you’re in a mental hole, remembering times of joy is difficult. Feeling like the future is bright is as challenging as lifting a weight of 1000 pounds.  

Since I read the Bible and write every morning, I can’t avoid the down times I feel sometimes in my heart and soul. But, fortunately, I have to write anyway (otherwise, I fall too far behind in my blog posts :). That’s what I was reminded of this morning when I read Psalms 77. This is a Psalm of Aspah who, just like David, let’s his readers know exactly how he feels. He doesn’t do what I and other Christian writers usually do, which is force ourselves to write only optimistic affirmations about God, when we don’t feel like it. 

My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud; My voice rises to God, and He will hear me. In the day of trouble, I sought the Lord; In the night my hand was stretched out without weariness; my soul refused to be comforted. When I remember God, then I am disturbed; When I sigh, then my spirit grows faint. You have held my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 1-6 

See what I’m talking about? What preacher or Christian author would begin his sermon, his post or his writing with, When I remember God, then I am disturbed? When my thoughts are toward my ‘less than ideal’ situation and I’m in a hole, thinking about God actually can make things worse in my mind. I know too much about who God really is. I have a high view of God. I know He is Sovereign and in control of all things and that He directs the affairs of my life by His providence. I know that He takes us through certain tests in order to fortify our hearts and strengthen us with humility. With all that, I’m disturbed that He’s not answering my prayers NOW in the way I feel He should. I don’t like what He’s doing in and around me sometimes. I know He can change my situation in a moment, but He’s not changing it. (That’s not easy to write, but sometimes it how I feel. And it is how Asaph felt when he wrote this Psalm). 

The Psalmist continues, Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again? Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Has His promises come to an end forever? Has God forgotten to be gracious, or has He in anger, withdrawn His compassion? 7-10. 

Ok already, you are probably saying ‘that’s enough’. You are exactly right. The Psalm does a 180 at verse 11. This Psalm guides in understanding that our weariness of heart is normal. Don’t suppress it. Don’t take it out on others but follow Asaph’s pattern and cry out to God and unload on HIM! We all go through it at times. But there’s a calling upon us to fight through it and turn our mind toward Him in a fresh way. You unload ‘your’ issues first but then move on to recount all of His great deeds and wonderful attributes. 

I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate on all Your work…What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples. You have by Your power redeemed Your people, 11-15. 

Dear Father, my volatility of emotions reminds me to be so exceedingly grateful for Your unchanging nature of perfect holiness. You never change. You are the same yesterday, today and forever. When we place our hope in others, we are disappointed. Consequently, you are steady, consistent and always perfect. When we are weak, You are stong; when we are unfaithful, You remain faithful; when we waver, You remain steady. You are the rock of our salvation. My life and my joy are in You! Amen