From the Overflow

Good Wednesday Afternoon, August, 23, 2017

Statistics indicate that the third most common cause for people consulting their family doctor is depression.  And chances are pretty good, I will venture to say, that you know someone, perhaps a close relative or friend,….or perhaps even you yourself  that  is suffering from this terrible affliction.

I hope I can encourage you with a few thoughts that have been resonating inside me through forty plus years as a pastor in six different churches from Ohio, to Kentucky, to New Orleans, LA, to Mississippi, to now beautiful Midland, MI, and the sweet congregation, Emmanuel Baptist Church.

1.  It is my opinion, and I stress OPINION, that none other than our very Savior, the Lord Jesus Himself, was VERY depressed, among previous occasions, but most severely in his dark hours of Satanic attack in the Garden of Gethsemane. Listen to the Gospel of  Mark, 14:32-36:  “Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’  And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed.  Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.’  He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.  And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You.  Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.'” (NKJV, Nelson Publishers, 1994)

2.  I wonder how ANY inhabitant of planet Earth can escape, at least at times, being very depressed; and yes, even in the case of us believers!  In fact, it is another opinion of mine that true followers of Jesus will be inclined to suffer much depression.  The Body of Christ has witnessed the rapidly deepening of depravity, and spiritual decay in this world since Christ created His Body known as the Church, His Bride.  Greed, lust, hatred, racial and cultural tension, and discrimination are not lessening.  Such iniquity and pain is accelerating. The  Father’s desire for Agape and brotherly love to rule His human family seems impossibly hopeless!  As the Savior foretold concerning “last days;” before the end of time,  iniquity, evil on the earth, will grow increasingly worse and “the love of many will grow cold.” (Gospel of Matthew, 24:12, NKJV, Nelson Publishers, 1994)  Is this not a sadly apt and accurate description of the USA,  August 23, 2017, in many sad respects?  Brotherly love seems to have gone totally out of style.

3.  Lastly, besides the crystal clear words of the Son of God, the M.O. of Lucifer, the god of this world, as Jesus labeled Satan is unchanged for millennia. The Gospel of John, 10:10, tells  us all  that we really need to know about the Evil One.  May I paraphrase?  Jesus said that the Thief (Satan), came (after his war with God’s Holy angels in, and subsequent expulsion from Heaven) to earth to kill, steal, and destroy!  But take heart dear brothers, sisters, and friends.  Because in that same  verse, your Savior and mine said, “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (NKJV, Nelson Publishers, 1994)  Summing it up:  Do expect that you might well become depressed.  Do be ready to call out to the Lord, and to comfort others around you who are depressed. Do realize that as beautiful, and awesome as our earthly home is, in the words of the great old hymn of faith, “There’s a Land that is fairer than day.” And very importantly, don’t assume sin is the cause of yours, or a friend’s, or a relative’s, or loved one’s  depression!  If you accept my premise that the perfect and sinless Son of God was indeed severely depressed, then might we agree that Satan and his evil work is certainly VERY DEPRESSING?!  But we are on the WINNING TEAM!   : > )  Hallelujah!