Dear Presence seekers,
Charles Spurgeon once wrote about depression and discouragement. He said this: “The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy.”
If that is where you find yourself–in a place where things seem dark and hopeless, despite the fact that you do know God and are strong in Him–I want to encourage you today.
First, know that you are not alone. Jesus was a Man of Sorrows, and He knows how you feel.
Let us remember that Jesus is the one who groaned in agony of soul and spirit in Gethsemane. He cried out to Father to deliver Him from the torture He knew He was about to endure.
He also bore our sorrows–including our sins and failings, guilt and shame–right up onto the cross. He took everything that makes us sad with Him onto Calvary's tree.
He did it to heal us. He did it to make a way for you and I to live in victory. That's important–but I also want you to know that it's important simply that He understands what you feel like, even if you haven't achieved victory yet where you are.
Because He was, and is, the Man of Sorrows.
Secondly, I am reminded of the valley of the shadow of death …
And of the fact that the Scripture says in Psalm 23 that we walk “through” that valley.
Right now, my life feels like I'm walking through that valley of the shadow of death. Correction: Actually, it feels like I'm IN that valley with no through or end in sight.
My baby was born four weeks ago today, and he has had major feeding issues since birth. Horrible, awful feeding issues.
My baby is in pain, and I can't help him. We've been getting the runaround from multiple doctors. Few of them seem to care. We've so many doctor's appointments that I've lost count. We've been in the emergency room at our local children's hospital. And our baby screams and screams, wails and flails, and vomits rivers. It's horrible.
And it's pretty discouraging.
Not even counting the fact that I'm still trying to recover from his birth myself.
But my Lord says I'm walking through.
Frankly, I don't see the end. I don't know how he'll get better or how long it will take. My Scripture for the year talked about my help coming from the Lord, and the enemy is trying to get me to believe that that means my whole year will be hellish.
It's a challenging time. I don't see a lot of light in these issues. They are oppressive and harmful.
But I do see nothing but light in the face of my Savior.
Oh, Jesus. I need You. I need You so much. Please, help me. Help him. Help us.
When we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil for He is with us. And although we would love to know the solutions–I know I would, anyway–sometimes all we can know in this moment is He is with us. And that is why we can fear no evil–because His presence is enough.
His presence has always been enough.
When I went through a very long period of depression and financial nightmare several years ago, He was with me.
When I have been through unjust situations too horrible to name here, He was with me.
When my family broke apart when I was younger, He was with me. I didn't even know Him yet–but He was with me.
All the days of my life, even long before I had given my life to Him–when I was depressed, suicidal, angry, hateful, and more–He was with me.
And He is with you too, no matter how dark the valley is that you're going through.
He is with you.
And He is light itself.
John 1:5 says:
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5).
The light, or Light–Jesus–shines in the darkness, but the darkness doesn't and didn't comprehend it. Why? Because darkness has nothing in common with light. Darkness flees when light comes.
And your darkness flees when Light comes. When Jesus becomes manifest in your situation.
So I leave you with this word of encouragement today: look at Jesus.
Lift up your eyes, for He is your Redemption and ‘your Redemption draweth nigh.' Let's look at Jesus bigger, you and I. Let's gaze at this One who is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and the Light of men. The Light of you, and the Light of me.
Let's lift up our eyes, away from our navels and up into the face of Jesus. Because He is with us. He is for us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He understands.
And He is faithful.
Will you look at this One who is the Light and Life today?