13 03 2015


It always cracks me up when well-meaning people try to tell me that real Christians don’t battle with depression and discouragement! Supposedly we are supposed to be always smiling, happy and sweet with never a sour word to be heard from our lips. I just have to ask, “What planet are you living on?” While God has cemented true joy in the hearts of his children, there are times of sincere and severe tears this side of Glory!

If you are a true student of the Scriptures- you will recognize rather quickly that there are many references within its pages of those dedicated men and women who were undoubtedly committed to the service of the Lord and yet amidst the colors that they wore- blue still inhabited their wardrobes! Moses wondered why God had given him such an overwhelming responsibility of having to babysit millions through the wilderness. Jonah after the greatest revival in the history of mankind where an entire city came to the Lord in repentance sat under a tree and hoped to die. Job for obvious reasons did not sing and dance his way through one atrocity after another. While he never stopped believing, he did curse the very day that his Mother gave him birth. And even the Super Apostle, Paul, despaired his own life while he was trying to defend himself before the petty Church in Corinth.

But the king of the emotional roller coaster had to be the Prophet Elijah! After one of the most daring displays of amazing faith on the mountain top of Carmel, in a contest that had him take on 850 evil men who had murder on their minds and blood on their lips- Elijah bottomed out in record time when a cranky idol worshiping woman named Jezebel threatened to take him out! After a moment of surreal spiritual exhilaration that most of us just imagine and dream, Elijah couldn’t sustain his spiritual adrenaline. Exhausted, spent, lonely and afraid- our hero doesn’t run to the light of a palace- but he escapes in panic and confusion to hide out in a cave of darkness.

I don’t know about you but I for one am so thankful that God didn’t edit out the warts from his heroes and keeps the good, the bad and the extremely ugly in the finished production. It gives me hope that I can make it! There are days that I sense that I am kissing the very Face of God and couldn’t get any higher in the euphoria of knowing the Lord. There are other seasons when I feel like pond scum on the pond scum and can’t fathom what God would ever see in a loser like me. 

But the more you get to know the process that God uses to manuscript masterpieces, He takes our weaknesses that we surrender to Him, and instead of trashing them- sculpts something so wonderful that it must be treasured! I don’t have to pretend that I am somebody that I am not. I just need to be the one that God is constructing me to become.

And so we watch God not reaming Elijah out when He discovers His servant with his tail between his legs. As a matter of fact, before there are any words of wisdom at all- God gets practical and allows Elijah to get some sleep. Do you know that we human beings do not operate very well when we don’t have healthy sleeping patterns? The absolute worst time to ever try to make a major decision is when your brain is fried! Maybe the smartest thing you can do today is not wear your workaholic pin as a badge of honor- but turn out the lights, pull down the shades and take a nap!

God then feeds Elijah a nice heaven cooked meal. Again, not eating right messes with our metabolism in such a way that we don’t think straight, we don’t behave well and we make dumb moves along the way. Why do we act like running restlessly without resting regularly and eating righteously is a standard to be proud of? Go to bed! Eat healthy. And then- get out of the cave! I love how God lovingly and compassionately reminds His boy that he wasn’t made to dwell in the dark places. So the Lord draws him slowly out of his depression back to a place where Elijah is lovingly reminded of who he is and why he matters and also why it is too soon to quit! No yelling! No shaming! No sermons! God shows up and cares and lets Elijah feel real love!

Mountain top experiences are amazing but learning how to live in the valley is essential. Even Jesus had to endure the desert after an amazing baptism event that featured the entire Trinity in attendance. What makes us think that we are going to always escape bad feelings? Cancer, the death of loved ones, disappointments, undeserved attacks, unjust decisions- you’d have to be a robot to not battle the blues at all through the war zones of life. But God never leaves us. God doesn’t watch us from a safe seat far from it all in the balcony. Jesus moved right into our neighborhood. He enters the mess with us and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. It was the great Baptist Preacher Charles Spurgeon who said, “Poor human nature cannot bear such strains as heavenly triumphs bring to it; there must come a reaction. Excess of joy or excitement must be paid for by subsequent depressions. While the trial lasts, the strength is equal to the emergency; but when it is over, natural weakness claims the right to show itself.” Spurgeon knew that Christ followers had to go through the training which would allow their skin to toughen! He added, “Let no man who looks for ease of mind and seeks the quietude of life enter into the ministry. If he does, he will flee from it in disgust.” And all God’s people said, “Amen!”

Will you allow God to minister to you within your pain? Will you be willing to walk with somebody who has had their heart broken? Avoid the temptation of trying to fix what can’t be fixed. Learn that your presence with another might be just the ticket and words not so necessary after all. And the good news is that while weeping may last for a night, joy does return in the morning. Thank you Lord that we aren’t dead yet! And when we finally are whole enough to have our faculties come in strength, God invites us to go and get with Him. We come to a place that you know we have experienced the Lord in before. And there we forget Jezebel and finally focus on Jesus! Fixing our eyes upon the Author and the Finisher of our faith! We are affirmed and released into new ministry for we know that we are alive again. But none of this is ever grasped without having traversed through the woods of loneliness and discouragement! You are not alone! You are not the only one. Look up and be reminded that you are loved and God will walk with you all the way until an authentic smile returns to your lips once again. Selah!

The Lighthouse Church has a Grief Support Group that meets the first and third Tuesdays at 6:30pm. Call the Church office, 609-465-6690 for more information.













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