If you have been reading my blog in recent weeks you’ll know that I’ve been on a search. It hasn’t been any normal kind of search either. I’m not really looking for something that doesn’t exist, I’m not really looking for anything animated.
I’m simply looking for the real Jesus.
I’ve been raised in a Christian home, experienced life as a pastor’s kid and missionary kid. I’ve been publicly preaching and speaking for eleven years about God. I’ve led multiple worship teams, discipled students, and ultimately have decided to give my life for Jesus. Lately though I’ve found myself in a place of confusion. I’ve started walking a path that I never expected to trod; depression. It may not make sense to some of you how this affects everything in my life but it does. Instead of relating to God as a typical human being Im now having to relate to God as a semi-constantly, for no reason, sad person.
I’m having to fight harder for perspective because it has become so unbelievably easy for me to cave into my hopeless worldview. I’ve lost sight of who the real Jesus is.
The sad truth is that some churches aren’t necessarily helping people like me and you. They may preach prosperity, happiness, and a life full of God’s blessings but they fail to mention the fact of the Gospel. Jesus never promised an easy life for His followers, in fact He said it would get worse. So when we hear these preachers proclaiming nothing but happiness many of us are left to wonder where the real Jesus is and if He even exists.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been getting back to the basics of my faith. I’ve been studying the Bible looking for the most basic answers to some of the most age old questions. This morning (at church) the pastor struck a nerve with my heart when it comes to God’s promises and His hope in my life.
The most frustrating aspect, as a believer and follower of Jesus is the constant war raging in my mind over my salvation. Most days I know that I’m a child of God and I’m actively pursuing His calling in my heart. Other days I feel like I woke up on the wrong side of Satan’s bed. How can I have hope in God when my depression and sin says different?
I recognize that Depression can be proven as a chemical imbalance in someones mind. I fully recognize that it is a disease just as any other disease. I also know that regardless of our bodily diseases God gives us a reason and a purpose to have hope in Him. If someone had cancer they would equally need a reason to have hope despite their circumstance. No, they wouldn’t feel good and no, they wouldn’t want to trust in God. It seems that when all is lost it is the hardest to believe in something that says have hope. Still though, God is a god of hope and calls us to lay every anxiety at His feet. So, this is what I’m supposed to do when I feel like quitting? Yes. Life is a fight…Don’t take my word for it though…
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
That last verse was written by a man (Paul) who endured an endless amount of reasons to wallow in His sorrows. He was beaten, persecuted, jailed, stoned, shipwrecked, and mocked all for believing in something beyond himself. Most people (including myself) would be quick to question God and accuse Him of doing what was worst for us. If I were him I would certainly feel justified in my depression; yet he so passionately proclaims his hope in a faithful God. Why? Because it wasn’t about the earthly pain for Paul. He was looking ahead to something greater…An eternal destination with Jesus. Paul had hope despite himself.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Look, I’m not saying that being a child of God will make all of your problems go away. They won’t. In fact, because you become a child of God only makes the Devil want to make it worse for you. So why am I telling you to believe in God when it seems that life will only get harder? It’s because there is a God in heaven who values your soul (and His glory) so much that He sacrificed His own Son to give you a reason to hope.
When we admit we cannot do this life on our own, when we tell God we’re sinners in need of a savior something miraculous happens. God adopts us into His family. With that comes all of the legal rights and inheritances as any legitimate child. If you were to adopt a child you would know that it’s not your own blood. You would still love them and sacrifice everything for them, right? You would still give your life for this child, right? The same goes for God. He is faithful to comfort you, hold you, and give you strength. He may do things in your life that you question or He may do things in your life that you would never prescribe for yourself. Regardless of our doubts in God He is ultimately after our own good. He wants us to know Him better and sometimes He does things in our lives that draw us closer to Him even if it hurts.
It’s hard. It’s difficult to trust in that kind of God but I know for a fact that He is who He says He is. Looking back on the many difficult situations in my life I realize that I wasn’t happy to begin with but in the long run I now see God was doing what was best for me.
Whether you trust Him or not is completely your decision. I’m sure many questions may be raging through your mind (It’s ok, my mind is doing the same thing) but despite our lack of understanding I know we can trust in a God who loves us; who loves you.
He loves you in your pain and He loves you in your joy. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Will you trust Him with your life?
With all of that said, I have a confession to make…
I’m depressed but I refuse to be a slave of fear.
I will trust God.