Sunday, February 19, 2006

Heaping blame upon pain

Kim tackles the difficult topic of depression and the stigma that, unfortunately, still surrounds it.

Twelve years ago I experienced a clinical depression. I received loving support and also judgement. I might add that it was not always from others - I was my own worst critic, heaping blame upon pain.

I learned much during that dark period and when the Lord rescued me after 3 years and 7 months, I was not the same person that I had been before. I had learned what it is to be held by the Father - to be lifted up out of a pit - to pass through the valley of weeping and to watch my tears become like rain that brings forth fruit. And I am still learning it. This is the redemptive power of our God who has promised to redeem the years that the locusts have eaten. For this I am grateful beyond words.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

It's a long story and I could write much. However Spurgeon, in this tender and compassionate message, speaks more eloquently than I on behalf of those who go through the "dark night of the soul."

The following by Charles Haddon Spurgeon is from the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1881, vol. 27, p. 1595:

"I know that wise brethren say, ‘You should not give way to feelings of depression.’ … If those who blame quite so furiously could once know what depression is, they would think it cruel to scatter blame where comfort is needed. There are experiences of the children of God which are full of spiritual darkness; and I am almost persuaded that those of God’s servants who have been most highly favoured have, nevertheless, suffered more times of darkness than others.

The covenant is never known to Abraham so well as when a horror of great darkness comes over him, and then he sees the shining lamp moving between the pieces of the sacrifice. A greater than Abraham was early led of the Spirit into the wilderness, and yet again ere He closed His life He was sorrowful and very heavy in the garden.

No sin is necessarily connected with sorrow of heart, for Jesus Christ our Lord once said, ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.’ There was no sin in Him, and consequently none in His deep depression.

I would, therefore, try to cheer any brother who is sad, for his sadness is not necessarily blameworthy. If his downcast spirit arises from unbelief, let him flog himself, and cry to God to be delivered from it; but if the soul is sighing--‘though he slay me, yet will I trust in him’--its being slain is not a fault.

The way of sorrow is not the way of sin, but a hallowed road sanctified by the prayers of myriads of pilgrims now with God--pilgrims who, passing through the valley of Baca [lit: of weeping], made it a well, the rain also filled the pools: of such it is written: ‘They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.’