This has been a difficult time for many of my friends. We get several calls and texts each day from people who are anxious, lonely, and depressed. We chat and pray with these folks and they seem somewhat comforted. We have a friend who because of her mental health finds herself in ‘care’ she is not allowed out and visitors have not been allowed during this stage in the pandemic. She texts often in very real anguish. We are so grateful that last night the most stringent measures have been lifted and perhaps our prayers that our friend may see family and friends over Christmas may be answered.
Personally, I have much to be thankful for. Linda and I have enjoyed good physical health. We welcomed a new arrival to our family. Our daughter and her husband have longed for another little one for a long time. We had joined them in desperate prayer and just yesterday I rocked little Ronan in the chair I had bought specially to do that same thing with his big brother.
We have been taking part in an Alpha at our Church and two of the people we invited are enjoying it and finding it helpful. We have not had many opportunities to be used in this way and it feels good!
Despite the obvious blessing on my life, I find great sympathy for David in Psalm 42:5 when he engages in some ‘self-talk’. “Why so downcast , o my soul…?” Over the months this depression has swollen. It has creeped stealthily but insistently. I can easily beat myself up for feeling this way when I know I am so blessed, and I am aware that others suffer so much more. I have discovered though, that ‘beating myself up’ does others no good, and it does not aide me in the least.
I return to Psalm 42 for help. In verse 6 reads “My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember…” The psalmist stops asking the question “Why?” and instead turns to the “Who?”. He turns his thoughts to the study of the character and nature of the God, from whom all blessings flow. In his weakness he realizes that he cannot rest on his own strength but on that of the Lord. Later Paul was to write in a similar vein “My grace is sufficient for you; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. “
I have often battled with melancholy as the days got dark but covid has magnified the effect. I am grateful for a friend who passed along her special lamp which helps address this very thing. As I type it shines on my face and I feel that is making a distinct difference!
I have picked up an old companion. Years ago, I used to read C.H. Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible. It has been over 20 years since I last held it but as an extra disciple (which these times require) I picked it up and I have been thoroughly enjoying it. Spurgeon himself battled melancholy. He called it “the black dog” and I have chosen to find inspiration in a fellow battler. There could be a lot worse role model!
We all need to take care of ourselves. We are fragile, each one. Yet God is good! I am a blessed man with a God who loves me and will even use me for his glory!