& THE WHAT IFS
Remember when you were a new Christian, saved and had great joy? And now you do not feel that joy anymore. Clearly we have our ups and downs and I have been on that rollercoaster!
In my book, “Heaven by Attrition, “Spiritual Depression” is the largest chapter and I find it the most challenging problem a Christian can go through.
However, with the Lord, I was able to get my joy back and keep it. And this is part of my story.
*Jesus compared the joy at finding a lost sheep to the joy of heaven over a sinner’s repentance. The unstated conclusion is that the hope of such a conversion was the reason Jesus associated with the undesirable of society at that time. Persons who need no repentance is a rhetorical way of describing the scribes and Pharisees. A similar description is found in Luke 5:31, where it is said that some do not need a physician. The scribes and Pharisees believed they did not need to repent because they felt they were not lost.
(Luk 5:31 MKJV) And Jesus answered and said to them, Those who are sound do not need a physician, but those who are sick.
(Luk 5:32 MKJV) I did not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners.
In Luke 15:1-7 it says: (Luk 15:1 MKJV)* And all the tax-collectors and sinners drew near to Him in order to hear Him.
(Luk 15:2 MKJV) And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receives sinners and eats with them.
(Luk 15:3 MKJV) And He spoke this parable to them, saying,
(Luk 15:4 MKJV) What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after that which is lost until he finds it?
(Luk 15:5 MKJV) And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
(Luk 15:6 MKJV) And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.
(Luk 15:7 MKJV) I say to you that likewise joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
That is a perspective that I like to bring out, because I always wondered why He left those 99 sheep unintended. They were, in their minds not lost, and you need to be lost in order to be found. Think about that.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression, and many of us have it and do not realize it. Again, it is insidious like Satan.
Depression in my case is affected by changes in the brain called “neurotransmitters.” There are three that I know of, ; “Serotonin; norepinephrine; and dopamine.” Here’s the rub; you need to know what your deficiencies are, because there are no tests to speak of that can tell what your brain levels are. Thus, the “guinea pig treatment.”
First you are put on one or two antidepressants to see if that helps, but the kicker is that it can take weeks to find out. Then you try others, and wait again. Remember, it has to be the right combination.
The purpose of this illustration is to show the difference between Spiritual & Clinical Depression.
I found the spiritual to be much worse. With Spiritual, you just want to die. Not by your own hand, but that is the feeling you have.
The fact that there is an abundance of scriptures dealing with this malady, reveals that God is fully aware of the problem. It is in the bible for a reason. so maybe, just maybe we should pay attention to it.
This is my struggle. However, before I pour my heart out, there is a need to mention the urgency of prayer.
I strive to feel like the apostle Paul who said in Philippians 44:12, which says, in part…” I have learned in whatever state I am , to be content…” It means a great deal to me to reach this goal with God’s help. More often than not, I wake up depressed.
Laying in bed, the only way to get up is to pray. I ask for a double portion of the Holy Spirit, then God, in His wisdom will give me a picture of various scenarios. It could be when I was first saved or how can I help someone today to get my mind off the pain. For the most part, I thank Him for another day.
I also have anxiety attacks pop up and they are so overwhelming. Later on, I realized what was going on and in that recognition, with God’s strength I was able to beat it.
Do not get the wrong impression, this can go on until you give it over to Jesus. But until then Prayer, and laying out to God for answers will work.
There are diverse kinds of this melancholy: the one where Satan uses your anxieties against you by interjecting thoughts in your mind, and blowing it all out of proportion and you get anxious all over again. Remember, it can sound like you, but if it is not healthy thoughts, it is undoubtably the adversary.
I do have myriads of problems, large and small, and I am sure you have them too. So, the scenario goes like this; you wake up in the middle of the night wondering about the “What If’s.”
One night I woke up freaking out because they had predicted a thunderstorm about the time I had to go to the doctor’s a half hour away; I was waiting on news of a deposition because I caused an accident and they wanted to do what lawyers do. What do I make for dinner, I have little money. My mind whirls and I start to cry which reminds me to pray. I have missed some beautiful Florida days because I am too depressed.
here is the long & short of it, “leave it with God.” Listen to that gift He gave you called the Holy Spirit. You need to calm down. What I did was lay on my back and reasoned things out one at a time.
I am deathly afraid of thunderstorms and because of a bad experience I had years before. Then my next thought was, “Who cares, God is going to take me when it’s His time anyway.”
I wouldn’t be alone at the deposition, I have a lawyer and most important, the Holy Spirit is there.
Dinner, Why can’t I pick up a roasted chicken with all the trimmings for $10.00?
Leave your burden at the cross! Prayer then listen for what the Holy Spirit inside you has to say, before you run off and do your thing. Remember, “God is bigger than your problems,” and he would love to hear it from you.
It still happens, but when I lay down on my back and pray, the Holy Spirit calms me, and tells me what to do. It could be by your devotional, a scripture. A thought,etc.
Someone said to me once, “Once you give your burden to Jesus, allow Him to take care of the problem, let Him work in your life. The worst thing you can do is to take that burden back to the cross, it would be like putting another thorn in His head.”
That did it! As i have come to know our Lord, in all His parts, by researching Him in the scriptures and praying to Him just like talking, it get’s easier and Easier to have Him reveal Himself in the scriptures. The bottom line is to stay close to God, pray every day, and leave it in His hands. It is part of His plan.
The What If’s
The what if’s are from Satan, and they usually never happen. Now that I know the truth, tell that to my unbelieving mate. He will come home and be frantic about life and work in general. He yells at me to get a job, which is ludicrous because of my diseases,etc. Because “What if he gets sick and cannot work, what if he loses his job, what if one of us has to go to the hospital, what if we cannot make the money stretch and they take the
We all know the story where Simon Peter denied Christ three times, and what if Jesus would not forgive him. So he went back to fishing with John and James. And who was cooking on the beach when they came home with empty nets. Jesus! In John 21:3-17 you can read the part where Jesus asks Peter, ‘Do you love me?’ three times and Peter said yes, and then Jesus said, “Go feed my sheep.”
“Although the writer of the following Psalm is not specifically identified, the superscription indicates it was written by the sons of Korah.” The sons of Korah were Levites who were descendents of Kohath, the father of Korah. They produced and performed music while the tabernacle was in the wilderness and after construction of the temple in Jerusalem. Eleven Psalms are attributed to the sons of Korah, (42:44-49:84-85; 87-88).
The writer of Psalm 42 found himself in exile , separated from God’s people, though the exact cause is unknown. With the privilege of serving as a Levite taken away from him, the writer fell into the deep crevice of despair.
In spite of his suffering, the psalmist still praised the Lord, knowing God was his only hope. He put his hope in God and continued praising the Lord.” Taken from Lifeway’s Explore the Bible (Summer 2017) Session 12. However, it is a Song of David.
David is one of the best examples of spiritual depression. And he expressed it with his talent of prose and song.
He kept to himself the shameful way he acted with Bathsheba and Uriah and the nation he was called to rule. Of the many Psalms he wrote and sung, I like this one the best, because it describes spiritual depression, whether we are aware of it or not. David was very aware of the blood guilt, and adultery he committed. What could “King David” the apple of God’s eye be thinking when he was on his magnificent throne. He wasn’t.
Hence, he knew what he had to do to get into God’s good graces again. He “panted” after Jehovah because he felt the agony of being separated from his God. the word Panted used in Ps. 42 & 43, reminds me of an anxiety attack.
In Psalms 51, the entire spiritual battle unfolds because now David, after many months of agony suffered because of his guilt. Expressed are the words in vs. 3&4, “my sin is always before me.” He is finally repenting to God and confessing his sins, and asking for mercy, but still praising Him.
I find it interesting that in vs.16 “for you do not desire sacrifice or else I would give it; ” God would not be pleased today with a larger check to the Church, etc. You could not work your way back, nothing’s changed. However, in vs.17 David says, “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart-These, Oh God You will not despise.”
Just like today, we need to pray as David did, and if you do not know what you did to move further from God, pray and ask him, then keep praying, and ask for forgiveness and remember the moment when you were saved. And it is always a good idea to listen to the God inside you, The Holy Spirit.
I am not a preacher, but I can tell you this, keep busy, do any kind of ministry you can, then you get to see that you are better off than most, and you will want to share your joy.