If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

His Friends Are More Than Fond Of Robin

I posted this as "the Dumps" back in January of 2011. As of now it is August 12, 2014. I had started a new posting in thoughts of Robin Williams departure from this life. But, this is one of my most read posts and maybe it has helped a few people. . . . thought I would re-post it. The other one was creeping into Robin's personal life a little too much. I've updated it, and put another video at the bottom. "His Friends Are More Than Fond Of Robin" is a Carly Simon song. It's a love song, but it has always been one of my favorites and it came to mind this morning as I was recalling that I have never prayed for Robin Williams by name. Would it have helped? I have no idea of how, or if, my small voice would have changed anything for him. But . . . prayer always helps in God's way . . . always. I would call this an old Carly Simon song, but I was 18 or 19 years of age when it came out, so it's not old yet!

Psalm 27:13

    I would have despaired 

             unless I had believed 

                       that I would see the goodness of the LORD

                                 in the land of the living.

OK. I stepped off into a deep subject. This one may seem long, and it rambles at times, but I hope it helps. It is just me sharing what I believe to be biblical truth on a serious and sensitive matter. I could say more, maybe should say less, and I don't know if any of it applies to any among my small readership, but here it is. (I'm not even sure why I went here at all! This has just been on my heart.)

Different translations of scripture quote Psalm 27 verse 13 in different ways. The King James says, "I had fainted . . .".  The New King James says' "I would have lost heart . . ."  This one from the New American Standard, in my opinion, says it best. For without the hope of the Lord people can and do sink into despair.  And despair is a terrible state to live in. Merriam-Webster defines despair as the loss of all hope or confidence.

Our pastor brought a wonderful message on depression a while back. And then, the next day actually, as I was driving to pick up lunch, Joyce Meyer (gasp if you like) was also speaking on depression. She pointed out that depression usually goes like this: It may begin with disappointment, which leads to discouragement, which leads to depression, which leads to despondency, which leads to despair. In other words, it goes from bad to much, much worse.     

Depression is real and it happens.  There is depression caused or triggered by circumstances that pretty much every body is going to experience at some time in their lives. (Whether they will admit it or not.)  Depression sometimes is brought on by other illnesses and particularly by certain types of surgery.  In some, it happens in a very devastating way as it is a matter of "clinical depression", which is a physical chemical imbalance, rather than "circumstantial depression", and like so many illnesses it becomes a life long battle. I'm sure I will be corrected if I am wrong, but, I believe that the "season of depression" feels much the same whether it is clinical or circumstantial.  The thing about clinical depression is that once the depressive cycle ends, you know it is coming back and, as Forrest Gump might say, ". . . for no particular reason."

Please be assured, it is no more of a sin to enter into depression than it is to have a cold, or the flu, or muscular dystrophy, or cancer or anything of the sort.  Sickness and disease are a result of sin which entered the world through our many-times-over great grandparents, Adam and Eve. Such things are not necessarily a result of our own personal sin. They are a product of sin itself, which left all of creation, including our bodies, vulnerable to the effects of sin upon creation. (Did I just repeat myself?)

I really don't think there is anything that anyone can do to prevent depression.  You can bring it on.  You can make it worse.  You can invite it in.  But, I don't think you can stop it from coming. You can fight it at the on-set and maybe win.  But, I do believe that depression can be prevented from entering the stages of despondency and despair.  Certainly, a long cycle of depression can and will cause hope to fade. And it is during these times that you must hold to the truth. You see, depression is a liar. (It is not a lie, but it is a liar.)  Depression begins to tell you that life will always be this way.  Depression can very effectively block memories of happier times and tell you that none of that was real. ("You were putting up a front then like you are putting up a front now", Depression says.) Depression distorts the good and positive things that are happening right now by attaching a "but" to all these things, or telling you that all this is just a lie. Depression magnifies, validates, and exaggerates all things negative.  And the more one dwells upon such matters, the deeper and darker their depression grows.

So, while depression is telling you how bad things are and how much worse they are going to get, while depression is lying to you, you must hold to the truth.  You must remember that even though depression is beating you up pretty good at the moment, it is using lies to do so.  Depression is the very real way you feel for a season.  But, you must remember that it is only the way you feel. (And you might really feel real bad, dark, possibly to the point of taking your own life.)  It does not have to be the way things are, and it does not have to be the way things are going to be. And things don't have to change in order to overcome a period of depression.

Here is the truth: God is truthful. He cannot and does not lie. His Word is His promise. And not only that, His Word lives, because His Word is Christ.  And if you are a follower of Christ, then Christ lives in you, so the Word lives in you, which means God's promise lives in YOU!

God says,  "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9) 

This is practical life instruction. This is God telling us that there is a "bright side". And He is reminding us to concentrate on the good things of life.  When depression says, "nothing is good anymore or ever will be again," God is reminding us that depression lies, and that His truth endures.

 " . . . we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us . . . 2 Corinthians 7:5-6 
Before I am accused of taking the scripture out of context, the truth of 2 Corinthians 7:5-6 and any part of it is that God does comfort the downcast - the depressed. In this instance He used the arrival of a dear brother in Christ, and He may do the same for anyone in the form of a brother or sister in the Lord. The point is, and the truth is, God will comfort you. 

As Bro Chris pointed out, in 1 Kings 19, God's treatment for Elijah's depression was sleep, food, more sleep, and more food, and then for Elijah to stand in the presence of God Himself.  Elijah was so down that he was ready for his life to end, but God sent instruction to Elijah, which he followed and his spirit was revived within him. 

God knows how you feel, and He knows how to lift you up.  Follow the truth, not the lie. 

Psalm 42 is an acknowledgment that things are not right mentally. And as the writer cannot understand why his state of mind is such as it is, he does acknowledge God, and seeks to praise Him yet! I won't post the entire Psalm here, but go and read it and meditate upon it.  Let the Psalmist's acknowledgment of his condition and his desire to praise God be your guide in bringing you from the depths of depression. 

I could go on and on with scripture that acknowledges and "treats" depression and despair.  Anyone who is looking for them can find them. I'm just putting my two cents in.  But, I want to get across that God knows about depression. He understands depression. Some of His greatest and strongest and most faithful servants had to deal with depression. He is not mad at you if you are going through a season of depression whether it is circumstantially based or clinically based. He can help you through it and He wants to. That is the truth of the hope that you must hold on to.

Depression is bad enough, despair is dangerous.  For when all hope is gone, all is gone.  Despair says, "God is not coming." 

With all that I know, should I look to the Lord through the the circumstance of the day and say, "He is not coming."?  Oh, God, forbid it that You should look to me and say, "He is not coming."  For it is my desire to run to you! 

Here, in despondency and despair, it is of the greatest importance to recognize the lie that brought you to this point and to cling to the truth that will lift you up from the pit of darkness you are in.  I've already said, that I don't believe depression is a sin. But, I know that Satan and his demons  most assuredly will try to use your depression against you in the worst kind of way. As in so many of the situations we face in life that are not sinful in and of themselves, Satan and our own sinful nature can influence us to sin in those situations.  Depression is no different, except that a feeling of guilt might be more intense. So, it is important to be diligent to stand against temptation, but also to remember that you are forgiven.  Satan seeks to kill, steal and destroy, and he will use whatever we leave open to him to accomplish his goals. God offers power to you, and life abundant. Again, the power of God lives within you if you are a Christian. And, again, depression lies and tells you that no such power exists for you. Hold on to the truth no matter how you feel! Live by what you know, not what you feel.

So when depression tries to tell you that God has forgotten you, and that He has no plan whatsoever for you, and that there is no hope and you have no future worth living, hold to this great truth, this promise that lives within you:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Again I stress, a lie may be spoken loudly, but it is still a lie. The truth is the truth at any volume.

I began this blog with Psalm 27 verse 13.  I leave you with Psalm 27 verse 14.

   Wait for the LORD;
         Be strong and let your heart take courage;
              Yes, wait for the LORD.

Well, apparently you've read this long, rambling blog, so here's Carly's song.


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