Saturday, June 15, 2013
Keeping Hope in God and Overcoming Despair
40 I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
This was an article I saw the other week.
Suicide Rate Rises Sharply in the US
How very sad. Please pray for those people's families and friends. I suspect the economy is playing strong a role in this as well as other break-downs in society. Some articles said the rate of suicides among those who are middle aged are increasing as well.
Everyone knows depression rates have been skyrocketing for years. While with some people there may be chemical things that happen in the body affecting their minds, everyone knows the increasing numbers of the depressed in our society is a major reality.
I am not one of those people who is going to tell you that depressed people are all sinful. This message I can believe is very harmful out there. This is what can lead to many hiding their feelings even to the point that their relationship with God suffers because they think it is a "sin" to be depressed or sad. If anything those who are focused on appearances, are the ones, who deny people honest feelings. Then we get those who are more busy with the appearance of holiness rather then seeking after true holiness.
While sin of your own, or of others and no relationship with God can lead to depression or despair, there are chemical things that can happen in the human body to affect the mind. There are other factors who can lead to it. A man who loses his wife is going to feel grief and depressed. A person who faces a terminal diagnosis, is going to face some "negative" emotions. The poor food we now have, definitely is taking a toll on people's emotional as well as physical health. The constant stress of this society is difficult.
Once I heard that "all depression was a sin" sitting in a church before, and responded that is not true, there are diseases of the body such as hypothyroidism, that will affect the brain and cause depression. Also people will have God-given emotions in response to extreme stress, grief, and suffering. Why else would the Bible tell us this about God wiping away our tears?
Revelation 21:4 - And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Avoid the false religionists who come out of the prosperity gospel and tell you that to be sad means you are a sinner and that only those who matter or are in the right are those who are focused on their own "triumphs" and success. Avoid the "positivity patrol" as they malign you for not having a fake smile plastered to your face. However for a Christian there should be joy in the Lord that always serves as a foundation no matter how bad things get. If that joy is lacking for you or you feel distant from God, the best way to overcome it is seek honesty in your relationship with God. This means telling Him how you really feel and asking Him for help. If you are worn out, depressed, sad, mournful, tired, TELL HIM. If you are looking to God, He will know your sorrows and pain and will comfort you.
Matthew 11:28-29 - Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
A society that lays down wicked expectations and standards has set people up for despair. A society where things are breaking apart socially does too. The corruption and growing wickedness has a price too, even as people suffer for the sins of others and their own as well.
For some reason I thought of this verse....
Daniel 8:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
Wear out....sometimes life in this world can feel like a drip drip of water torture. Many are facing endless challenges, problems, stress, grief, losses, economic problems and ill health. Things are growing more complex and for some of us older folks, the technology alone can feel like something that puts our brains in a stir. Some of us aren't keeping up. Many in this world are facing even worse things such as starvation, abuse, war in their land. Of course there is loneliness, those who have no families, or face rejection by family, divorce and worse too.
The worse thing in America is the positivity patrol has made compassion in short supply and demands the false smiles and proving that one has it all together which is why on Facebook and other social websites,many people 'sell' their life, as always going great. That does more damage to people with the false fronts limiting compassion and adds to the burdens people can carry.
Never forget that America lives in a dream world crafted by Satan and his workers, no make that the entire world, where delusion rules. One thing to do is to test your mindset according to God's Word. God promises to take care of needs not wants and one must set their heart according to God's will. The world will tell you that you are wrong and will do everything in it's power to squeeze out your joy and suffocate the true meanings of life, which is living to glorify God. They will judge you and measure you by measuring sticks where the majority of the population is designed to fail. The New World Order is enslaving people for profit. They are passing laws now that are not about keeping a peaceful and orderly society but are about oppression, control and breaking people down emotionally, financially and physically. Another thing they do is set up things for you to strive for that have nothing to do with what God desires.....
What carrots do they have people busy chasing? It keeps people pretty busy chasing after financial success, money, perfection as defined by the world, beauty, popularity, status and it keeps their eyes away from God. In my opinion it also leads to frustration and depression for those who do not have God and measure themselves only by the world's measuring sticks. Those who fail to acquire these things grow despondent, and those who even acquire those things, still face emptiness when they realize they do not have God.
One thing I notice in this society too is how they set up expectations that if people do not measure up to, they are blamed and almost consider "non-persons". How many are depressed because they do not make enough money or do not measure up to what the world considers "successful"? The world's messed up priorities which have grown far worse are impacting people. How many young people are being destroyed inside, after coming out of college to a dead job market that is even busy laying off the two generations before them? Hopefully they have kind understanding families instead of ones that start the muttering about "losers" or "deadbeats". How many of these people have been told by this culture, that only certain people are to be valued and cared about?
If you are a long time reader of this blog you know they have influenced every scope of life out there, that includes your emotions and feelings. We have to be vigilant even regarding our own minds. Trust me they want you to be afraid, it gives them more control. It is impossible to keep house like Martha Stewart or look like the models they parade before you. Trust me they want you to wake up everyday berating yourself for many things you have not measured up to. They want you chasing the carrots on the stick, too busy to think about God or the deeper things of life, or even to look outside the maze while they have you busy like a mouse getting lost in it looking for that piece of cheese.
Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
One thing we probably can all relate to, is that this world has become a very anxiety ridden place. Stuff can add up, tax bills, bankruptcy, scary medical problems, sometimes it seems never ending. People may ignore the "small stuff" but for some people it can add up. .1 Peter 4 is an interesting verse, in that it says "think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as thou some strange thing happened unto you" In other words, we are to expect problems in this world.
1 Peter 4:
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
Ecclesiastes 2 is an interesting chapter, where it talks about the despair of effort in this world and feeling like all your efforts have been for naught, but reminds one of hope in the Lord in the end.
Eccl. 2:20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.
In a conversation with a friend the other day, we were talking about this, how especially in America culture, "success" is pushed as the highest ideal, and we live in days where it can be taken away in a second, via one corporate merger or whim of a boss. So people sacrifice all to move up the ladder and chase that carrot on the stick and what then if it doesn't work out? Community life and the rest has been sacrificed for it, and everything meaningful they have attempted to wipe away.
While some people do have chemical imbalances they need a doctor for, the world of psychology is a place where Christians especially need to be careful of. One thing you will note the psychology world besides all the false New Age and other teachings in some areas of it, props up all the goal-achievement and success, and tells people the only way to "save themselves" is via achievement. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is one example. This is related to the "Have the Best Life" life nonsense that is pushed in the churches that I warn about quite often as well as the pop-psychology arenas. Everything is about proving yourself to the world. Purpose-Driven Life too uses the same focus, for worldly achievement and success as well with a religious veneer to it all. What about what God thinks? Focus your life on what matters to God, spiritual things instead of material and worldly things. This will help give you purpose and direction and God's healing.
We all want to move along in life hopefully directed by God but I remember saying to some folks suffering from depression, it's this sort of stuff that makes people more depressed. You may not get the great job, the big house or the money. So what do you do now? The Christian life of course dictates that there are things way more important then money. Build your life on the ROCK--Matt 16 [Jesus Christ] and not on sand.
Ever notice the world always tells people BELIEVE IN YOURSELF and NOT GOD?
What is even more insidious is that they tell people they "make their own way, they choose their destiny" or that all become self made due to their own efforts but when one looks at the job market, your very economic fate as far as this world is concerned unless you are fully independent rests on some boss sitting behind a desk. Sadly unlike closer social ties, where one's decisions were made not only for profit but for local community based ones, the mega corporations are only looking at the bottom profit sheet and you are just another cog in the wheel.
The one thing that can save one from despair, regarding these things is turning to hope in God. One thing about life, I have learned, is that life can go very badly but if you know you are God's child that gives you hope beyond the suffering of this world. I've had a life that has not gone "easy" by the world's standards, as you know I have admitted facing past poverty before on this blog. I was set solitary in a non-Christian family that rejects the gospel [Psalm 68:6] and have been tested on many things. One thing some of them made this blog possible to begin with. God does turn the bad into good. [Romans 8:28] For the Christian, victory rests in Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Many of the bad things in life can be used by God in a good way to teach you things. When one has everything stripped away often they convicted of their need for God in the first place. This happened when I was first saved, and basically saw my life and health implode. Those who have suffered or had heartaches often have used these experiences to develop compassion and their dependence on God. When all things are hopeless too, faith is grown in turning to God, when it feels like everything is lost on this earth. These are the times when you can feel God's love the most encompassing you.
Sometimes life can get so challenging, you have to set your mind aside and just think on the things of God. Make sure you question what they tell you about yourself. While the false preachers will claim the warnings about the accusers of the brethern apply to them, it really applies to those who will seek to degrade God's true children and bring them to despair. Seeing through the world's wicked system can be freeing in the way, that if you have not become what a society idealizes, you realize it was "all vanity" as the book of Ecclesiastes tells us. Reading that book, helped me a lot because it brings forth the things this world wants you to care about and dedicate yourself too and questions the whole lot of it!
Eccl 1:14 I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.
Eccl 2:26 For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.
Proverbs 18 18 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.
The wicked world will tell you if you are sad and mourning, broke, feeling troubled, that it is your fault. Their only answer is to run after the carrots and live the "dream". Whose setting the standards for those dreams? Are we to live for ourselves or live for God and His will?
Ever wonder why Disney World sells so well, "magic" sells to the unsaved who would love to solve their problems at a swish of a wand, even if they just sit there and enjoy the "magic show". Christians should have nothing to do with Disney World but that is a subject for another post.
One thing too, we do have to protect our company, if you hang around wicked people, they will bring you down in the dumps. They will bring one to be depressed. Some will drain you dry like a vampire, while others will criticize or play games. Many of the wicked delight in the misery of others, this is a world not to be naive in. God warns us about this to protect us. Wicked people will hurt you not just physically but emotionally and spiritually. Often times I have noticed is that many depressed people have faced abuse or are keeping company with mean people or others who bring them down and do not offer them encouragement. Some do not know any better or are young or in the position of needing others. Be careful of your company. One false thing that world tells people with a false Christianity is to "forgive" evil doers, but then keep company with them even when there is no repentance, the Bible says otherwise.
Proverbs 4:14 14 Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. 16 For they cannot sleep unless they do evil;And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.
This here too is a way a person needs to protect themselves and see where they are at, and protect their minds and hearts as well. I know depression is a complex topic and multifaceted. Many face it for a variety of reasons but these are some reminders I wanted to give people in this article. The Bible admits we will mourn, that we will be troubled, these are not things to be ashamed of or like the false religionists to believe they are sins, but we are to keep our Hope in God and He is where our Joy is.
2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.