It’s a Roller Coaster Life, but God is a Promise Keeper

Life has its ups and its downs. Some people experience the fluctuation therein more, others experience it less. Whether it be just a shade of melancholy, or full-blown, paralyzing depression, I suppose all people have experienced it somewhat. Growing up, I heard a lot about depression, etc. and always had a difficult time understanding such a concept. I’ll be honest, in my high school years I cynically scoffed at the idea of depression. My thoughts were that people ought to “buck up” and get over their problems. Then, a few years later, I experienced my first real bout of depression.

It was unreal. Not only was it unreal, it was so unexpected. Not only was it unexpected, it was unfamiliar. I mean, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this happy guy named Josh was floored by….well, something he didn’t know. To this day, I can’t really put a finger on it. I wasn’t revelling in sin. I wasn’t in unrepentant rebellion toward God. No family members or close friends were dying or dead. Nonetheless, I was brought low. I got to the point where everything was done out of obligation. I wasn’t happy about anything. I remember many of my prayers, crying out to God to bring me through. I remember eating a few bites and being able to stomach no more.

Even now, I still don’t know what the cause of that time was. All I know is that I didn’t want to get out of bed, shower, socialize, __________ (fill in the blank with all the normal things I routinely did and even liked doing). Despite not understanding, I now know this: my lack of sympathy for those going through a tough time (and being unable to pinpoint its cause) was very presumptious and without knowledge. This bad time wasn’t without purpose. Number one, I knew that even though I didn’t understand what was going on, I had to trust God at all times in all things. I felt like the Psalmist who saw all his enemies closing in around him. He would cry out to God and not see His hand in all of this. Nonetheless, he would end the Psalm with hope, trust, and belief that the Almighty knew what He was doing.

He was very gracious to carry me through that period. God also taught me how to have sympathy and compassion on those who’re going through similar things. You know, even when people are experiencing rough times on earth because of their own sin, we ought to be burdened for them. Thus, when we go to confront them to repent, we may do so with a heart of love and mercy– versus a heart of condemnation and judgment that we’ve no right to have. Even still, there are those who experience these things which are not a cause of unrepentance, sad situations, etc.

It’s in these times that the Christian must especially hold fast to that which they know to be true from Scripture, lest they be fooled by their circumstance. That God is good all the time. That everything which happens in the saint’s life is furthering the purpose of God (which is a good purpose). That God is sanctifying us through even our sorrows. That his purpose is more important than our temporal comfort. You see, though I’ve not experienced again what I did eight years ago (an almost paralyzing depression from an unknown source), I have had my ups and downs. Sometimes I have a melancholy looming over me for a few hours. Sometimes, a few days. Other times there’s a great frowning providence sent via my own circumstances. And yet, because of the faith God has graciously given me, I cling to His promises. You know why? Because His promises are surer and more enduring than my finite experiences, good or bad.

Even today I have doubts and insecurities rearing their ugly heads. Nontheless:

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

-Psalm 62:5-7

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

3 thoughts on “It’s a Roller Coaster Life, but God is a Promise Keeper

  1. Good post– I found it very moving. I especially like that it doesn’t sugar coat anything or make claims that life will simply turn around the minute you start believing in God. Rather, you just have faith that you are not alone, that God suffers with you, and that your suffering, however fleeting, should open your heart to compassion for others.

    Like

  2. This is an important post Josh. Many people face depression at some point in their lives, but a lot of Christians do not like to talk about it because of all the garbage that the word-faith and self-help preaching has pumped into them. If they are depressed then they must not be choosing their best life now. They have no lens in which to see the hand of God even in depression.

    Spurgeon suffered with depression quite a bit and said he would fight it will all his might and hated every minute of it, but in it all he learned to begin to look to see what the Lord was doing because everytime he was allowed to face those dark nights he would see God do something great in his ministry. Here is one of my favorite quotes by Spurgeon…

    “One Sabbath morning, I preached from the text, `My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ and though I did not say so, yet I preached my own experience. I heard my own chains clank while I tried to preach to my fellow-prisoners in the dark; but I could not tell why I was brought into such an awful horror of darkness, for which I condemned myself. On the following Monday evening, a man came to see me who bore all the marks of despair upon his countenance. His hair seemed to stand up right, and his eyes were ready to start from their sockets. He said to me, after a little parleying, “I never before, in my life, heard any man speak who seemed to know my heart. Mine is a terrible case; but on Sunday morning you painted me to the life, and preached as if you had been inside my soul.” By God’s grace I saved that man from suicide, and led him into gospel light and liberty; but I know I could not have done it if I had not myself been confined in the dungeon in which he lay. I tell you the story, brethren, because you sometimes may not understand your own experience, and the perfect people may condemn you for having it; but what know they of God’s servants? You and I have to suffer much for the sake of the people of our charge….You may be in Egyptian darkness, and you may wonder why such a horror chills your marrow; but you may be altogether in the pursuit of your calling, and be led of the Spirit to a position of sympathy with desponding minds.” -C.H. Spurgeon-

    Doug

    Like

  3. Alejandro, I’m glad that the post was helpful.

    Doug,

    Thanks for the quote. Here’s more from Spurgeon on Ministers and Depression (my favorite lines in bold):

    The lesson of wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul-trouble. Count it no strange thing, but a part of ordinary ministerial experience. Should the power of depression be more than ordinary, think not that all is over with your usefulness. Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward. Even if the enermy’s foot be on your neck, expect to rise and overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the futre, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not His saints. LIve by the day–ay, by the hour. Put no trust in frames and feelings. Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement. Trust in God alone, and lean not on the needs of human help. Be not surprised when friends fail you: it is a failing world. Never count upon immutability in man: inconstancy you may reckon upon without fear of disappointment. The disciples of Jesus forsook Him; be not amazed if your adherents wander away to other teachers: as they were not your all when with you, all is not gone from you with their departure. Serve God with all your might while the candle is burning, and then when it goes out for a season, you will have the less to regret. Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are. When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord. Set small store by present rewards; be grateful for earnests by the way, but look for the recompensing joy hereafter. Continue with double earnestness to serve your Lord when no visible result is before you.

    And then, there’s my favorite line from them all:

    Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s