Saturday, August 22, 2009

2009 – Day 233.Aug 22 – Words of Comfort

Passage of the Day: Job 3: 1 - 26 … Linked for study ...

My Journal for Today:
I read Chuck Swindoll’s devotional this morning; and it speaks to my life and feelings this morning. He writes about how Christians unsuccessfully dealt with the shame surrounding depression back in the 1960s. He recalls, as a young Christian student, that preachers just didn’t say much about “nervous” mental conditions back then; and Pastors would never even mention emotional or mental illness at funerals. It was as if they were ignorant of or oblivious to Chapter 3 of the book of Job as well as ignoring some of the giants of the faith, like Moses, Jonah, Elijah, Peter, or Paul, all of whom witnessed to crises of depression in the Bible.

And above I said that I can understand these feelings of confusion and quandary today; because yesterday a dear brother in Christ, who had been separated from his wife, who was suffering from bipolar waves of depression, could not raise her by phone yesterday and went to her apartment where the security people at the apartment and my friend found her dead. I don’t know all the particulars even yet; but I do know that this dear Christian lady had suffered from severe bouts of depression and very low self esteem. And apparently, 40-50 years ago such conditions were likely to cause Christian people to question the faith or the salvation of the declared Christian suffering from these mental conditions.

Swindoll is right. We have no right, as Christians, especially Christian leaders, to get on a high horse, like a couple of Job’s friends will be in subsequent chapters, by questioning the faith or behaviors of someone who is confused by life and depressed by its circumstances. Job was given the latitude, and we read it in Chapter three of his story, to cry out to God … to rail with his depression and express his feelings of remorse and anguish. So, why shouldn’t we give our depressed brothers and/or sisters in Christ the opportunity to do the same thing without judgments or self-righteous counsel?

This next week my wife and I will be going to the funeral of our sister in the faith who died while in the pits of depression. They don’t think suicide was involved; but even if it had been, we must ask ourselves, as the body of Christ, if we were there to do all we can to help our depressed friends to walk through the “valley of the shadow of death.” We need to be Christ for them, showing that all the love and grace our Lord has for them, … being there with them, … walking with them, … listening to them, … hugging them, … and listening more to them. And yes, if we need to help them get competent, CHRISTIAN, counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrists, then we must do just that too.

In the case of this dear, departed friend of ours, we happen to know that this sister got all of that from the body of Christ; and yet, somehow, for some reason, she is now with God; and her husband and the rest of us who loved here are here to ponder how her passing had meaning. That was the position of Job in this Chapter 3; and we may have to deal with life in much the same way, now or someday, when we can’t explain why we are in the pits of life or why we’re having to deal with such circumstances.

But we do, or we should, know that God either allowed or led us into the valley of darkness for a reason – His reason. And, He will be there with us and lead us through that valley because of His love and mercy and grace. If you’re in a dark valley, my friend, maybe even as you read this, hold on to truths such as those in Deut. 31: 8, Psalm 23, Matt. 11: 28-30, 1st Cor. 10: 13, 2nd Cor.12: 7, and 1st Pet. 5: 7; and I’m going to ask to look those up and meditate upon them if you don’t know them by heart; because in them we can know that our God is always in control; and He will never allow us to be anywhere, involved in anything, where we – with His help – cannot walk with God through to the other side.

Remember, as you meditate on those scriptures above, those are God’s promises, not mine. Those are the words coming right from God; and I can only hope you believe them and can be uplifted by them.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help us to ministry to the husband and family of this dear friend who now is with You and suffered so while she was with us. Amen

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