Old Unwanted Friend

I find myself standing at the edge of a precipice — knowing exactly what lies beneath. By God’s grace, I have not fallen, but the feeling of standing at the edge is tangible.

In this season (like most everyone) I’ve had my ups and downs. I’d like to think I’ve had more “up” days than “down.” And in God‘s kindness and mercy, I believe that has been true. But it’s all about His kindness and mercy, and not about my fortitude.

This is a hard thing to confess. I’d like to think that I’m a person who has matured. More specifically, I’d like to think that I am a Christian who has spiritually matured, by God’s grace, day after day. It’s not that this isn’t true, but when one feels the pull of depression, it can make everything seem like a lie – a mirage – that is slipping away and revealing something altogether different.

Recently, this has been the case for me. Eight-plus weeks alone with myself (and family) is the most isolation I’ve ever experienced. I’ve had times of great joy in the Scriptures and times of prayer and worship. I’ve marveled in God’s goodness and kindness. I’ve pondered His sovereignty and providence. I’ve felt His peace that surpasses all understanding. But, I’ve also had moments of fear. Especially when, in spite of these precious times, the creeping shadow of depression seems to be looming.

I’ve had many years of practice with fighting back. I am well-versed on what to do and what not to do (especially if one is a Christian). I’ve called out to God, talked about it with trusted loved ones, filled my mind with His Word, listened to faithful worship music and hymns, and so on. And I will continue to do these things. However, the struggle remains. 

I still find myself standing at the edge of this precipice knowing what lies beneath. By God’s grace I have not fallen. Yet the feeling of standing at the edge, that shaky, vulnerable, feeling is real and tangible. 

And it brings so much self-shame. 

How is it that someone who professes to believe in God can struggle with this? Someone who is actively pursuing His word, and His will for their life? Someone who is trusted to teach and encourage others in their relationship with the Lord? Shouldn’t I be above this?

If that isn’t a telling statement, I don’t know what is. Apparently, I still think there is something I can do or should be doing, on my own strength. Apparently, there is something I need to lay down and say, “Lord, I need you in this too.” 

And I do. I need Him daily.

The good news is, that is not a problem. Scripture tells us in Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” I don’t know how long the tug of depression will last, but I do know God says there will be enough mercy. Even when I tire, and I fear what tomorrow will bring. 

In his book, Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering, Timothy Keller observes, “God never promised to give you tomorrow’s grace for today. He only promised today’s grace for today and that is all you need.” I will never wake to face a day without God’s mercy available to me. And it will never run out before the end of the day. 

A. W. Tozer marveled at this wonder in The Knowledge of The Holy; “Nothing that has occurred or will occur in heaven or earth or hell can change the tender mercies of our God. Forever His mercy stands, a boundless, overwhelming immensity of divine pity and compassion.” The reality is this: God has promised I have access to all the mercy I need for this day. And tomorrow, I will have access to all the mercy I need for that day. 

If you have placed your faith in God, this is your reality too. Lamentations continues with verse 24, “The LORD is my portion…therefore I will hope in Him.” God’s mercy available to us is not contingent on us or our performance, but on His faithfulness. It’s not contingent on whether or not we are found worthy, but on God’s Great Name, because He is worthy! And He is glorified in His faithfulness to us! 

In Psalm 23:3 we read,”He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” When we humble ourselves before the Lord and depend on him, our weaknesses showcase His might. Paul understood this and explained it so well; “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

God’s mercy shows His greatness, and my weakness is an opportunity for His name to be known and praised. How amazing, that my brokenness and shame, are redeemed and used for His glory!

While I might still find myself standing at the edge of this precipice, this realization brings much hope. Clearly His grace is sufficient for me in tangible ways. And there goes the death of my self-shame. 

This is true even when I do not yet see the end. And it is true even when I do not understand the purpose. Lamentations continues in verses 25-26, “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” This truth is one to cling to. God is good, and I can seek Him in the midst of my battles and know that He is working on my behalf. He will deliver me, so I can wait quietly, and even rest in Him, because He is my salvation. And He is faithful. 

Even now, as I find myself in this long and tiresome season, I can find rest in God, because of the life and work of Jesus Christ. By His power, I can hold fast to hope, even as He intercedes on my behalf before the Father. “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.” (Hebrews 6:19) 

Maybe you’re struggling with depression like me, or some other old unwanted friend. I encourage you to join me and preach God’s truth to your heart. Read it, pray it, and rest in the sureness of His promises. 

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

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