Lately, I haven’t felt very joyful. Depression does that to you. The Psalmist begged “restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” ….I feel that I am there – empty, needing Him to restore my happiness. Needing Him to pour out His Spirit on my lowly heart. It’s been difficult to look people in the eyes for fear of exposing my ambivalence towards them. There is nothing that garners my interest. No Bible study, no sermon, no tv show, no music, no meal, nothing. I could care less about any of it. I guess I should reconsider that. Music helps. But it is only Christian music that gives me hope. I think of the message within the song and I imagine myself glorifying God – with all of my being. But it is only a dream. I am not worthy of His love. I am damaged goods. Why should He care? Why should I care?
By one account, there
are are 192 references to “joy” in the Holy Bible. In the Old Testament it is almost always related to the Lord, Our God while in the New Testament it is split between the birth of the Messiah and the joy the disciples received from the fervent belief of the newly saved. Nowhere did I find a reference to anyone struggling to have joy. It is just something that is not imagined. Joy is the product of belief and hope. The belief in the coming of Christ and the hope of salvation. I have both – Christ is my savior. But mental illness is not addressed in the Bible. Not that I’ve found. It just assumes everybody has their faculties about them. So what do I do when confronted with despair?
2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. “
What appears as hopeless is met by the disciples with perseverance. They forge on with expectation, “that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” This urges me to just press on and get through this. That old adage comes to mind, “this too shall pass.” But it does not make it any easier, it just gives me cause to hope that if I should die while in this state, that I will not be judged for my illness.
If I were a stronger Christian I would possibly be able to wrap my self around the expectation that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in me at these times. At all times. I have much more to learn, to study, to pray for. My prayer life is lacking. But that is a topic for another time.