It is the second week of Advent and the candle of love, symbolizing Christs’ love and light, shines forth into the deep darkness. This week alone, millions, no, more likely a bazillion candles brightly beckon to us, radiating light and love for those who walk in darkness. There are many kinds of darkness in the world and in our lives. But the darkness I am speaking of here is a specific type. It is not the darkness of spiritual death that comes from rejection of God and Christ the rescuer, nor the pervasive evil that blankets the world. No, I am addressing the Believer, the Follower of Christ who dwells in the darkness of depression. Depression whether it be physical, mental or spiritual, has caused our spirits to grow faint and we cannot comprehend the light. And yet, even in this, there is good news, God is the Master Physician and He has a cure for us all!
There are many who believe it impossible for a Believer to dwell in darkness, claiming 1 John 1:6 and other scriptures as validity for their stance. But for those of us who now or in ages past, battle with the stronghold of depression, we would emphatically disagree. The sheer numbers of Believers who stand with me in this darkness cannot be denied. It is fact. Believers can and for a time, do walk in the darkness of depression. It would be most helpful if Believers would stop judging us when we are weak and extremely vulnerable. Start praying and standing with for us. When it is anothers turn, we, having lived it, will stand and pray with them.
So, what is depression? In college and graduate school, I was told that depression was ‘anger turned inward’ and it began because those experiencing it could not establish ‘a way-out’ of their situation. I must say, this explanation is not adequate. I do agree anger can be involved in hopeless situations, but depression is much more complex and multifaceted to be explicated so simply. Moreover, depression not only effects the mind, it effects the body and soul as well. We are whole beings created in the image of God and not pieces to be sliced and diced up by the medical community, of which I was a part for twenty-five years; please forgive me Lord. Now that I have been experiencing chronic depression for myself, I think the best description regarding the etiology of depression was written by Kay Arthur and quoted by Beth Moore in her book, “Praying God’s Word”. Kay exhorts…
“The first ‘degree’ of depression is dejection-a lowness of spirit, a feeling of spiritual and emotional fatigue. If not reversed, this dejection takes us down even further, plunging us into despair and finally into utter demoralization. At this stage of descent, hope is entirely abandoned and is replaced by apathy and numbness…”
When I read this quote my heart literally wept for joy just because someone finally put in words what I have been experiencing. And although, you may notice Kay’s definition doesn’t include anger specifically, still I believe it is buried in there somewhere without being the sole contributor.
So for the good news….Ms. Arthur goes on to tell us, “My goal is that no matter how fierce or long the battles we face, you and I together will be able to say,
“…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39).
This is why the second candle of Advent is my favorite candle. I know that God loves me and He loves you, fellow-sufferer of depression. How do I know that God loves us? The Father and Jesus the Messiah, God in flesh, loved us when we were alone, unwanted, abandoned, naked and addicted to evil. God looked down from heaven and saw us and He loved. By human standards or conventional wisdom, there wasn’t anything about us to care about, let alone love. But God, chose to seek us out and to include us as His children, making us heirs to His Kingdom. It was scandalous, I know and yet, He is a Father to the fatherless and His presence is with us no matter what we do or don’t do. He will always love us and nothing can change that. We are forgiven and when He looks at us, He sees His bride, dressed in holy white, pure and undefiled. It isn’t our holiness, of course, we couldn’t keep the law, nor do we deserve this gift. Nobody can earn such a rescue. It is His gift, His Christ-mas gift, freely given; bought and paid for through the sacrifice of the cross. It is for this reason that we know deep down, that Christ can rescue us from even this. We are more than conquerors because we have Christ who loves us.
Father and our Lord Christ, please help us to live and believe we are conquerors. You made us such by Your love. Help us to bask in your love this week and forever. Amen