Bill, over at Unshakable Hope, has a very timely and interesting post: Why are So Many Christians Depressed? Most of the comments (and his responses) are very good. You can find my own among them. I will direct you over there today. I’m sure there are some of you, including myself, who deal with (or have dealt with) depression and struggled with “What does this mean about me and God? Am I failing him somehow?”, etc.
And, by the way, if you haven’t already, read Bill’s story while you’re over there. (Under “About Bill“.)
Know that you are all in my prayers. And keep him and his family in yours.
“I wonder whether we take seriously enough, we grown men and women, the stress that Jesus puts on being a child in order to receive what God has to give? It means God can come fully only to the little one. It means renouncing all ideas of our own spiritual importance, of what we do for God, what we give to God, our own supposed goodness and virtue. It means casting aside any concern for that image of ourselves, so precious to ourselves, that we are indeed truly spiritual men and women. Julian of Norwich maintains that, in this life, we can have no other stature than that of childhood. I think that when Jesus takes the child in his arms, sets him in front of himself, pointing to him as a model, it is to himself he is pointing. His inmost heart was always that of a child and that is hwy he could live with such freedom, courage and self-squandering. To my mind this is the nub of the truly Christian faith, this grasp that all is gift and our work is simply to receive, to learn how to receive. Certainly, when I myself get the spiritual ‘fidgets’ and become anxious about myself and my life, I find my answer in simply saying to myself: ‘You are only a child!'” (Ruth Burrows)
because we are all
silver and eating
body and blood and asking
(guilty) is it I and hearing
him say yes
it would be simple for us all
to rush out
and hang ourselves
but if we find grace
to weep and wait
after the voice of morning
has crowed in our ears
to break our hearts
he will be there
to ask us each again
do you love me
Sometimes the best thing you can do to love the Lord is to just do the next thing. Ann Voskamp, in her usual honest and beautiful way, shares about not wanting to get out of bed one morning: When perfectionism and to-do lists overwhelm.
“Have you noticed that, from the place where you stand, there is always a shining way on the water, in the sunrise or sunset, or in moonlight, or when a bright planet like Venus is rising or setting?” (Amy Carmichael)
Continued from yesterday:
How can we reach the place where we can say “More than”?
Have you noticed that, from the place where you stand, there is always a shining way on the water, in the sunrise or sunset, or in moonlight, or when a bright planet like Venus is rising or setting? There may be a hundred people on the shore, and yet each one sees that path beginning just where he or she stands. I shall never forget my astonishment when I saw this for the first time.
It is like that with the Bible. Wherever you are reading you will find a path that leads you from that place straight to the heart of God, and the desires of God.
Perhaps some are puzzled about the path which I said leads straight from whatever part of the Bible you are reading, to the heart of God, just as the shining path on the water leads from the place where your feet are standing across to the other side.
I was reading the Psalms, especially Psalms 3 and 4, when I wrote that, so I will take these as our starting point–the place on the shore where we are standing.
In both psalms there is that clear honesty in prayer that we find in all Bible prayers. David was not thinking of making the kind of prayer people would talk about, and call beautiful or earnest or anything of that sort. He was keen to tell his God the truth about things, as far as he knew it, even about the miserable noise of words [Ps 3.2; Ps 4.2, 6]–a thing that very advanced Christians would have told him he really ought not to mind at all. Then there was a restful committal of things in general and all that unkind talk in particular, and then the will to trust and not be afraid; and as the fears rolled up, prayer again, honest prayer.
I want to remind myself and you that we never get anywhere if we only look at the shining path. These notes will have been entirely useless if they have not helped to bring us to the place where our happiness does not depend on the work we are doing, the place we are in, our friends, our health, whether people notice us or not, praise us or not, understand us or not. No single one of the circumstances has any power itself to upset the joy of God, but it can instantly and utterly quench it if we look at the circumstances instead of up into the Face of light and love that is looking down upon us–the Face of our own God.
This is the shining path, stretching away from the place were we stand today to the very heart of God. This is the shining path that shineth more and more as we walk into it.
Let us ask God to show us the shining paths in our lives today and to give us the grace to look up from them to His Face of love that is looking down upon us today, in this moment.