I’m sorry for my absence from Sweet Waters these last few weeks. Once again I learned that my plans don’t always work out the way I hope.
Why the break? The busyness of life, yes, of course. I was also held down by a bout of low energy. These were combined with another issue, one I must face from time to time–maybe you do to. A touch of depression. Not the deep dark kind where I plunge to the dungeon of despair. But a heaviness I couldn’t shake, a seriousness, and worst–a feeling of distance from Jesus. My usual joy seemed unreachable.
Do you ever travel through that gloomy, depressed land?
I used to add panic to these periods. I cried out to God. “Where are you?” I worried that I wasn’t even a Christian. I found myself angry with God because I couldn’t feel him. I’d go over the Bible’s promises of peace and comfort and accuse God of letting me down. Or, more commonly, I’d turn on myself. “What did I do to make You leave me?”
These thoughts and attitudes caused the depression to worsen, snowballing out of control.
How I Get Out
I’ve learned how futile this way of thinking is. I shouldn’t be surprised by the valleys. Is not life full of mountains and valleys and everything in between?
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12
He doesn’t promise to steer me around the valleys, but to guide me–step by step–through. Sometimes the miry fog hides even his presence as I walk, but he’s there. Just like Mount Rainier doesn’t go away when clouds hide it, my Jesus’s promise to guide me doesn’t go away because I don’t feel him.
By his grace, I’ve learned to not freak out, try to banish the gloomy feelings, or even fight against them, but I “just keep walking.” As I walk through the valley, to overcome the fear and doubt, I speak truth to myself. He’s with me. He won’t leave. I’m his. Soon, the valley floor inclines, and in the distance light shines through the fog, welcoming me to the clear, bright, joy-filled highlands again. And I think, “Yep, you were with me the whole way.”
Five Verses for the Valley
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 29:20
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. Isaiah 62:3
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zeph. 3:17
Remember, he loves you like there’s no tomorrow,
What verses do you cling to as you walk through the valleys? I’d love to hear and I know it will bless others also!