Friday, 6 December 2013

The Big D, the Gift We Don't Want.

You can sympathise and support, however until you experience it, until it hits you like a truck, it’s difficult to truly understand. I do the same things as I always did – but somehow it’s completely different. The way I see myself and the way I see other people.  Like a light going on. Depression. This is what it feels like. Everyday.

Sometimes, those who’ve faced similar darkness can bring the most light.  When you’ve lost someone you love. When you’re tired or depressed or addicted or sad.  It’s a lonely place.  And being understood makes a world of difference. 

“Christians should be happy.  Or hopeful at least.  Thankful, even when they feel yuck. They keep on praying and keep on trusting and if they do then they will feel better.” But is there such thing as a depressed believer?
God’s a triangle of love and I’m circling outside. It’s Salvation 101.
Where is God in This? How can I feel better? That’s what knowing God’s love is all about. Being happy. Feeling the love as well as knowing it.
Life and struggle and faith and God…an endless, nauseating drop.
…You’re dizzy with falling, but underneath the everlasting arms.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord; And He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; Because the Lord is the one who holds his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24
… My brain’s a hole and I can’t make sense. First question:

If you know something, but you don’t feel it, is it still the truth?
The truth that’s bigger than the feelings.
“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.” (2 Cor 1:5-6)
At the time, they just feel rubbish.  Pointless. Painful. Meaningless and empty. Sometimes we never work out what they were about. But they’re always a gift from God to us.  And they’re also a gift from us, to others.

Dependence is a funny sort of gift – up there with batteries, Christmas jumpers and Toiletries gift sets… I’d rather have an iPod or a remote-controlled airplane. But without the batteries, your plane’s going nowhere.  And until I know my complete need for Jesus, His blessings make no sense.
The Bible talks a lot about gifts.  We’re all given them, but they don’t belong to us. Some are easy to spot: teaching, hospitality, generosity, service. But what about this as a gift…

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. (Philippians 1:29)

Really? Brokenness, sadness, hard times? Can these also be “gifts”? In a sense, yes.
Don’t despise your gifts.  They might not look the way you expect.  But God will use them and use you too. Our experiences matter. Even – and perhaps especially - the bad ones.

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