- Social Justice Part I – Environmentalism: A Theology of Creation Care
- The Deep Blue Church
- Salvation is Liberation: Part I
- Living Water John 4:1-42
- 2020: My Year in Review
Have a great end to your year. See you in 2021.
2020 has been one of the most challenging years of my entire life. First, I tackled the new year as a single person for the first time in seven years. Unemployed, with no money, and depression literally crushing me, I had no idea what 2020 would hold. I tried to study, but in the first half of the year, my mental health got the better of me, and I woefully failed. I couldn’t bring myself to find employment; there were days I couldn’t do anything but stare at my phone in an open-eyed coma silently screaming to God for something to change. COVD-19 hit us all; isolation wasn’t just a mental health issue; it was a physical necessity as Australia battled the first wave of the pandemic. Doubt started to crash upon the shores of my mind and heart. I doubted the existence of God; I questioned my place in the world, my life. Every day was a numbing haze of uncertainty and a mental void as I lived each moment almost on autopilot. Books became mush in my hands as the words fell off the pages. The Bible, church, and prayer became God walking through Garden calling out to me as I hid from them (Him) in video games and meaningless distractions.
There were some good times. I started therapy (which I need to go back to). I had supporting friends (they probably didn’t know half of what I was going through). The times we could meet helped me get out of my rut even if they were too fleeting. I met someone new who interestingly enough is an art psychotherapist and a Christian. God has used her to make sense of what I’m going through, and she has encouraged me to get back onto the Path (relationships are always sanctifying). Coffee still tastes good. However, I’ve gone off soy, and I’m onto oat milk now. Seriously, try it. It’s both good for the environment, and it tastes like regular milk. This year God has had me go through some vast transformations regarding my theology around the environment, and with me coming to terms with some of my racial bias’.
Nevertheless, despite some significant change, the world still feels a little less colourful, and a little less bright. Even writing this blog is so much of a mental effort even though I love to write. …. Where am I going with this? I suppose, if nothing else, I want to write to other people who are like me. To those who know God exists yet, He never seems to speak. To those who know that miracles exist yet they seem to only happen in fairy tales. To those who know life is full of beauty and goodness, yet they’ve been without it for so long they’ve forgotten what that means.
I. Totally. Get. It.
I can’t remember the last time God ever spoke to me from the Bible or otherwise. I can’t remember when I saw something miraculous and jumped for joy. I can’t remember the last time I saw colour, or truly enjoyed the smell of saltwater in the air or the sand between my toes. I can’t remember getting that intellectual buzz from a good book or sermon or having a genuine laugh with a good friend. The love of a woman (or a man), fine wine, good food and friendship all seem like out-of-body experiences for the depressed. Unfortunately, I’m not much better than the rest of you so I can only offer some tiny pieces of advice.
I’m not some guru on life or mental health. This is all new (and old) to me. Life is hard. It does suck. It is full of pain and hardships. There are no easy silver bullets or seven steps to a better life. Anyone who says otherwise is full of shit. We do have a lot to look forward to, though. If you’re like me, then you believe that Jesus is coming back to wipe away every tear from every eye. To right every wrong. To make all things new again. I know it feels like you’re hanging on to a thread, and you’ve heard it a million times (and then some), but stay with me here as we walk after Jesus together. I can’t ever guarantee you an easy life, but I can promise a life with purpose, forgiveness and hope. That’s more than what many others find.
Should Christians be environmentalists? Yes. The Church in the West has always done a great job of presenting the Gospel of forgiveness. However, this has often come at the expense of the Gospel that transforms, not only humanity but all of God’s creation. Sandra L. Richter addresses these issues with rich biblical theology as she brings to light what the Bible has to say about the environment, and the Christians place in caring for it. Richter’s book is a must-read for anyone who takes climate change seriously, and who reads Genesis 1-2 and wants to live out humanity’s vocation with rich theological nuance.
Theology throughout church history (especially within the past five hundred years) has been dominated by white western males. Even as I look upon my bookshelf, or as I scroll through my resources on Logos, I’m hard-pressed to find any resources that I haven’t deliberately gone out and purchased that weren’t from someone who was a different ethnicity from me (apart from the early church fathers of course). Insight, wisdom, and meaning is dynamic and can take on various forms depending on one’s cultural lens. Even from within our borders, growing up as an upper-middle classed white male on the Coast can elicit different interpretations from God’s Word, rather than a marginalised lower classed black or aboriginal child living in the West. Esau McCaulley’s book wonderfully demonstrates how a black (African-American) reading of the Bible is an invaluable tradition for the wider church to tap into as it tackles some of the biggest social concerns of our day. Another must-read for anyone wanting to meaningfully engage with the problem of racism and inclusivism in our modern-day.
It can be incredibly easy to forget that you are not the main character of the biblical story. In fact, the protagonist is God; everyone else is either the damsel in distress or the villain taking them captive and corrupting the world around (this includes you). Furthermore, despite the focus of the Bible on the nation of Israel, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, the Bible is concerned about every tribe and nation, not just American or Australia. An oldy (2003) but a goldi, Daniel J, Hayes takes a deep dive into a biblical theology of race and ethnicity as he traces these themes throughout the biblical narrative. His book makes us pause and contemplate our place in redemptive history as we come to terms with our identity and shared humanity in the family of God. Read this book if you care what the Bible has to say about race.
As someone who wrestles with depression and the occasional spout of anxiety, this book could not have come at a better time. Emotions are messy, complicated, and often hard to make sense of. J. Alasdair Groves and Winston T. Smith helped me to come to terms with my emotions and realise that they’re something to embrace rather than suppress or run away from. Humans are crazy, and if you’re even half as crazy as me (or more), then read this book and start putting together the puzzle that is you.
Rumi was a 13th-century Sufi mystic, theologian and scholar that has been recognised as one of the greatest poets in history. Despite not being Christian, Rumi has had a profound impact on me this past year in my battle with depression and the world around me. Rumi has a unique way of expressing the inexpressible. Or, as T. S. Elliot once said, “poetry is a raid on the inarticulate.” Here is one particular poem that spoke to me this past year:
I was going to tell you my story
but waves of pain drowned my voice.
I tried to utter a word but my thoughts
became fragile and shattered like glass.
Even the largest ship can capsize
in the stormy sea of love,
let alone my feeble boat,
which shattered to pieces leaving me nothing
but a strip of wood to hold on to.
Small and helpless, rising to heaven
on one wave of love and falling with the next,
I don’t even know if I am or I am not.
When I think I am, I find myself worthless,
when I think I am not, I find my value.
Like my thoughts, I die and rise again each day
so how can i doubt the resurrection?
Tired of hunting for love in this world,
at last, I surrender in the valley of love
and become free.
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
The Sun glistens off the ocean’s face illuminating its grandeur, giving awe to all who brave its windswept shores.
The Sun’s light dances across the surface of the ocean then trickles below the surface to bring life to her many congregants.
Upon the ocean’s surface, fishermen are compelled by her mysterious call as they throw their lines, nets, and rape her womb.
Captains sail the great unknown with their sacred cargo while oil seeps out into the very waters that give them purpose.
Intrepid explorers go from island to island excited to discover new land, but turn their cannons and flintlocks on anything that seems other.
The ocean, full of schools of fish delightfully darting to and fro as they seek warm water and feast upon their daily sacraments, unaware that fraternities of predators lurk in the deep.
The nearly extinct and wounded drift through her halls seeking shelter from that which seeks to harm them, without realising – or perhaps without a choice – that danger is behind every pillar.
Hope. The light still trickles down to those that dare swim.
Warmth flows from the cracks in the ocean’s floor life to even the darkest rooms.
She will be cleansed, renewed, and delighted in once again.
One of the things I both love and hate about Christianity are the tribes it inevitably creates around theological positions. I love it because there needs to be a sense in which we define what is true and good. I’m not too fond of it because often we settle and become passionate about second and third-order issues at the expense of other people. Tribalism drives me crazy. It makes sense because what you believe is inescapably intertwined with your identity and your worship of God. We reflect what we believe. We worship what we reflect and love. What we love we passionately defend ether for good or for worse.
Here’s the thing. Before we become theologians, before we’re biblically sound, before we know what we believe (if you ever get there right on!) before we keep others at arm’s length because they believe in some different things to us, we must remember that 1. They’re image-bearers like you and 2. You’re a sinner just like them. Do they believe women can be pastors? Don’t forget they’re image-bearers and sinner just like you. Do they think the gifts of the spirit have continued into the modern-day? Remember they’re image-bearers and sinners just like you. Do they struggle with same-sex attraction? Remember they’re image-bearers and sinners just like you. Are they liberal? Are they evolutionists, do they like modern songs more than hymns or vice versa? Are they Reformed, Charismatic, Anglican, in a cult, heretics? Remember they bear the image of God and you are a sinner as well. All of these issues are important and are worth discussing (I love theology remember). However, I don’t believe these discussions and forming opinions and beliefs around these ideas need to necessarily come at the cost of genuine love for neighbour and God. While we naturally want to stick to our own, might I suggest another way? Trans-Tribal Christianity.
Tans-tribal Christianity is a label (ironic I know) I’m throwing out there to define a way of doing Christianity without ostracizing, isolating, or rejecting others within the Faith while still holding to your own beliefs and convictions. You’re going to be naturally drawn to some and not others. Ordinarily, you’ll worship in a church that is tailored more towards your own beliefs and convictions. However, I want to advocate for a more inclusive way of doing Christianity without compromising on “truth.” You might believe in a precise definition of the Gospel, or in the way a Christian should do church on a Sunday. Good. Hold on to that. However, We should have enough love and humility to see the potential wisdom in others. We don’t need to treat others as “second rate Christians” just because they believe the Lord’s Supper should be taken every week rather than once a month. We shouldn’t turn our nose up to people who see the Bible and the world a little bit different to us. Instead of immediately defending yourself and your position begin with the question “what can they teach me?” You might be surprised at what you learn.
Full disclosure. Some of this comes from a reflection of my own experience. I’m an evolutionary creationist. I have a literary approach to Scripture. On occasion I see myself agreeing with liberal Christians over conservative ones. I read scholars who in some circles are seen as edgy and semi liberal, where in others they’re orthodox. I have a Reformed ecclesiology, but I’m more Arminian soteriologically. I’m a mixed bag, and it feels like I never really fit in anywhere. Yet, I have friends from all over the spectrum, and it’s got me thinking. What if we can aim for a little more unity in our theological diversity? What if we can sit down and learn more openly from one another. I’m not suggesting we trade theological accuracy for unity. I’m suggesting we aim for a loving, humble unity – a friendship with others that doesn’t need to compromise our convictions. Friendship, understanding, and empathy with others who are different doesn’t need to come at the cost of our own doctrine. So here are some steps you could take the begin this journey (if you haven’t already):
Christians are obsessed with the idea of salvation. Fair enough, salvation is essential. The problem, however, is that everyone has different opinions on what salvation actually is. Different traditions tend to emphasise and even make exclusive claims to their own definition of salvation at the expense of others. So in this series, I aim to explore the different facets of salvation so that we may better understand what it really is. Here are the salvific themes we’re going to explore:
Each motif plays a pivotal role in demonstrating what salvation is, how it is achieved and received, and how it is lived out by the believer. In this post, we will be exploring recapitulation.
The doctrine of recapitulation is just a fancy term to describe the idea that Jesus reenacted the drama of humanity. That is, humanity in the person of Adam was supposed to not “eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” but in Genesis 3, they failed the test. Jesus, on the other hand, did pass the test, and every test subsequent perfectly. Joshua M. McNall explains recapitulation to be the foundation in which every other atonement theory makes sense.
Like every biblical theme, we see the origins of recapitulation on the first few pages of the Bible. In Genesis 1:26, we find that God created humanity in His image (the imago Dei). In previous posts, I’ve already explored what the image of God is, in short, it is a two-fold reality. First, the image is something ontological. In other words, the image is something that is part and parcel of human nature. Second, the image is expressed functionally through the command to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” and to work and keep the Garden (Genesis 1:28, 2:13). The problem?
In Adam, all of humanity has now become a corrupted version of what God had intended. We’ve failed to have dominion and to keep and work the Earth. This failure becomes apparent in Genesis 3, where sin in the form of the serpent rules over humanity instead of humanity ruling over it. Also, instead of guarding and keeping the Garden (Gen 2:15), Adam and Eve allow it to be invaded by the serpent to tempt them into idolatry. Mainly, Adam and Eve failed at being human and imaging God. In Adam, we have all failed the test, and we’ve all failed to be human. However, God doesn’t just give up on humanity. Instead, God is about restoring and renewing humankind back to its original purposes, and in fact, a more excellent state (complete unity with God). So then, let us trace recapitulation through the rest of the Bible:
My final thoughts. As we read the Scriptures, we’re supposed to see something of ourselves in them. We aren’t the heroes of the story. Far from it. We are, however, like Abraham, Moses and David. We’re all in some way or another, failures at being genuinely human. We all fail at loving others as ourselves and God with our entire beings. You could be a king like David, or a nobody like Abraham in a God-forsaken city, or a priest like Moses who talks to God like you would a friend, none of us are who we are meant to be. We all suck at imaging God. That’s ok. There is one who’s greater than us who is truly human. Who in His life took up the entire history of humanity, laid it upon Himself, and died for it. Now Jesus can make you human again, but it isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
The essence of being human isn’t seeking perfection, but now, it’s seeking Christ.
Friendship is hard. Really hard. I’m talking about real friendship, not the kind where you float into a room laugh, smile, shake hands, talk about movies and books, and then leave. That’s just social convention. That’s being friendly. Friendship is something, I think, a lot of us don’t really have. Real friendship, at least the kind I believe we all long for, the kind God wants us to have is exhausting, challenging, and painful. Yet, it’s addicting, beautiful, fun, and sanctifying. True friendship requires a lot of sacrifices. It requires a sacrifice of the ego, of your own desires. Humility is essential to intimacy. Why?
Throughout the 29 years of my life on this earth, I can only count three, maybe four real friendships that I’ve ever had. Two I see every week, one lives half a world away, and the other had fallen apart long before I even realised there was anything wrong. There is a fifth. Each of these relationships has been really different, complex, fun, and exhausting in different ways. The two I see every week requires constant engagement, attention, communication, love, service, sacrifice and humility. The problem though is that I suck at all these things. Despite being bullied my whole life, I continuously put one down (under the guise of Aussie humour) to make me feel better about myself. The other (and my best friend) I almost have nothing in common with outside of Jesus. Often when we meet, I have to feign interest in what he likes because I’m afraid that if I don’t listen to him, he won’t listen to my more important stories and mind-blowing (sarcasm) thoughts on theology and the universe. This is the problem with the ego (at least with mine). It sees my friends as a commodity, something to be used to form an identity, to achieve validation and as things to serve me rather than image-bearing people to love and serve. Real intimacy and friendship are scary because if I don’t lay aside my sinful and broken desires for the sake of those around me, I will end up losing the very people that God uses to make me holy in the first place.
So, there are a few things I need to get my head around and maybe they’ll help you as well.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. – Romans 12:9-13
So here’s my point. Let’s be better friends. See friendships as a God-given gift to heal the broken, to sanctify the sinner and for the flourishing of our souls. Lay aside “self” and honour the image of God that is the human you’re having intimacy with. Let God use them to soften you, to transform you into the likeness of His Son. At the end of the day, just get over yourself and love others as you want to be loved, right?
Let’s get real. There are many, many Christians out there that struggle going to church on a Sunday. You can’t just tell me it’s because they’re rebellious or whatever. In any given week, I speak to dozens of Christians from different gatherings where they express the same thoughts. At best going to church is something to do on a Sunday morning but it’s boring. The way we do church is very “one way.” We sit, stand, sit, listen to a speech from a person who we don’t really know about a book hardly any of us have learnt to actually read… We give money to an organisation because we think it’s what we’re supposed to do, we stand around the old dirty coffee urn and talk about the movies and how work was during the week… And at very best we go home with maybe a positive one-liner that we’ll forget by the next day like “God has a wonderful plan for your life.” We’re encouraged for all of Monday before reality comes crashing down on us and God’s wonderful plan looks more like broken despair then it does the upbeat abundant life that we’re told about. Church, as it is often done today, seems so out of touch with reality and out of touch with how it looks in the Bible. One can come and go from church for their entire lives without lifting a finger to love other people, without ever learning how to read the Bible for ourselves. We end up equating the Christian life being completed by going to a meeting for an hour or two per week.
It’s no wonder then that even myself, one who has (at least in my eyes) a high ecclesiology, who stresses the importance of going to Sunday meetings and recognises the God-ordained life-changing event that is church finds it incredibly difficult to find himself at home in one. In the entire time that I’ve been a Christian, there have only been two churches that I’ve felt that I belonged and content in. The first one was a church on the Sunshine Coast and the second was in Brisbane. The two churches couldn’t be any more different from one another, yet I felt at home in them because I believe for three excellent reasons.
1. They valued other people more than themselves. One church had the motto “people matter.” That rings true throughout everything they do. From the gym to the cafe, to the swimming pool to the church on a Sunday, this church has built a community where people feel at home. Where they can kick their shoes off, take a deep breath and try to pick up the pieces as they wander through this broken world. Sometimes they loved people so much that at times the line blurred between who were genuine Christians and who wasn’t. But I get it. When you love people so much, it can sometimes be challenging to draw distinctions because you want to always believe the best about them. My Church in Brisbane, on the other hand, was way more traditional. No community centre, no cafe, no swimming pool. Yet they carried your burdens and genuinely prayed for you. They were concerned about your holiness and love for God as well as your deep hurts and pains (1 Peter 4:8, John 15:12).
2. They loved the Bible. When I started going to the first church, they preached through the Bible in a year, twice. I got a great feed upon God’s Word and always walked away, knowing that God was speaking. The other church exposited the Scriptures with precision and clarity. Even on topics, I’d generally disagree with them on, I walked away, feeling God loved me and that He’d never forsake me. I can’t stress this enough, the importance and centrality of the Scriptures for a church. However, and this is true of almost every church I’ve been to, while in theory, they put the Bible into the hands of the people, and they encouraged the congregation to live by it there was no continuation or application on this through the rest of the week apart from a homegroup (Acts 17:11, Colossians 3:16).
3. You felt God. At both churches, I regularly experienced the presence of God. Whether it was through the sermons, the sacraments, or through the people, God moved, and God made Himself known to His people. It was sanctifying, transformational and pushed me forward into the presence of God (John 17:3, 1 John 4:16).
So what’s my point in all this?
Genesis 1 is one of the most loved and hotly debated chapters in all the Scriptures. Probably the most famous debate has been around issues like the age of the earth. Young Earth Creationists use Genesis 1 (and of course other passages) to argue for the existence of a Creator and even go so far as to use it as a model or paradigm for their scientific method. Others interpret Genesis exclusively as mythology, seeing no authority in the text whatsoever and understanding it as an ancient Jewish origins account of the world. These people think that in light of modern science, Genesis 1 has nothing to offer its contemporary readers. Two very different understandings of the text lead to two very different ways in which you can understand the world and God. I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
In past blogs in this series, I have categorised Genesis 1-11 as mythological theological history. What I don’t mean by this is that the events in Genesis 1-11 didn’t happen. Instead, the primary point of these chapters is the divine truths the author is presenting. Mythological doesn’t mean fiction in this context. The mythological genre can be better understood as parabolic or allegorical. The events in Genesis 1-11 happened. However, the events recounted in the narrative bring out a theological point rather than a detailed account of the past. As Tremper Longman III says, “The book of Genesis is not a history-like story but rather a story-like history.” After we explore the literary genre of the chapter, we need to ask ourselves some critical questions.
As we have already seen in the first verse, the Lord God is the creator, of all that exists. What we see in the rest of the chapter is that God places importance on an ordered and ruled creation rather than merely leaving it to its own devices. Unlike the other gods of the time, Yahweh is deeply concerned with every piece of His creation as He places everything in the right place and humanity has the crowning jewel.
The seven days of creation in Genesis 1 are not a scientific account of how God created the world, rather, it is a literary device standard in the Ancient Near Eastern world to describe God who is king ordering a cosmic temple to settle in and rule over. Another way to explain it is that Genesis 1 is not about the material origins of the universe. Instead, it is about the function of the things that exist with God at its centre. As John Walton explains:
I believe that people in the ancient world believed that something existed not by virtue of its material properties, but by virtue of its having a function in an ordered system.
Beginning in a state of chaos, in days 1-3 light, darkness, the sky, the earth, and the sea are all formed, separated and ordered. In days 4-6, God fills these spaces with the Sun, moon, stars, animals and humans to rule over them. In other words, God gives them a function. On day 6, humans are made in the image of God. The image or the imago Dei is another debated issue, but two things are clear in the text. The imago Dei is an ontological reality that is reflected in the function of flourishing humanity. They’re to have dominion over the earth (God’s cosmic temple), they’re to multiply and fill the earth.
On day 7 (the Hebrew number for completion – a recurring theme throughout the entire Bible), after having ordered His cosmic temple, Yahweh rests. The word rest here is important because as the story of the Bible progresses, it takes on developed meaning. Here, though, the word rest, according to John Walton, has royal and divine significance. It’s not merely God stopping or ceasing from His work (though that’s, of course, the apparent meaning of the text), instead, it’s God sort of sitting on the throne after completing the structuring of His cosmic temple where He now dwells.
In Genesis 1, the scene is set, the cosmic temple has been ordered, and God rules amid humanity and His good creation. Good though creation may be, it isn’t perfect. There is untapped potential that God wants humanity to cultivate and produce. This is the functional role that humanity is supposed to live in. Humanity in the world, God’s cosmic temple, is supposed to act as proto-priests as they tend to His good creation in harmony and peace. Genesis 2 fleshes this out more where Adam and Eve are to keep guard the Garden which is designated roles given to priests in Israel later in the Biblical story. For now, however, we see both male and female, and indeed all of creation was meant to live in an ordered world where God dwells and reigns from.
So what do these observations say about God? God is a divine king who wants to dwell imminently with His good creation as opposed to the ANE common understanding that gods were separate tyrannical rulers. What does this say about creation? That all of creation is good but has the capacity for more as it’s given to humanity to cultivate and rule over. What does this say about humanity? That humanity as God’s vice-regents, they were to live in harmony with God’s and the created order as they reign alongside God over the rest of creation and cultivate it.
As John Walton summarises
The key features of this interpretation include most prominently: The Hebrew word translated “create” (bārāʾ) concerns assigning functions. The account begins in verse 2 with no functions (rather than with no material). The first three days pertain to the three major functions of life: time, weather, food. Days four to six pertain to functionaries in the cosmos being assigned their roles and spheres. The recurring comment that “it is good” refers to functionality (relative to people). The temple aspect is evident in the climax of day seven when God rests—an activity in a temple. The account can then be seen to be a seven-day inauguration of the cosmic temple, setting up its functions for the benefit of humanity, with God dwelling in relationship with his creatures.
I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages. – C. H. Spurgeon
It’s only been hours since Jarrid Wilson pastor, and author of Love Is Oxygen: How God Can Give You Life and Change Your World, and Jesus Swagger died by suicide. As a personal favourite of mine, the news hit me hard. For the past two hours, I’ve been at a loss for word, tearing up, confused, shocked, and unable to properly process how someone like Jarrid – with a beautiful wife and two amazing kids, a successful author and megachurch pastor could, in a single moment give it all away. My heart aches for him, his friends and his family. I can bearly begin to fathom the hurt, trauma and anguish in the days, weeks, months and even years that are ahead for those closest to him. However, this hasn’t been the only case recently where a pastor has chosen to end their life rather than continue on. Suicide, depression and mental health problems are bombarding the Church in what seems like higher numbers than ever before. Personally, as someone who identifies strongly with this, I can’t help but say “this is not the kind of Christianity that I signed up for.” So many questions are rolling around in my head. Why is this happening to us? What is depression, and why is it so crippling? How do we fight this? Where’s God in all of this? I really don’t know.
This is not the Christianity I signed up for. Sure, I didn’t expect it to be all rainbows and butterflies, but the Christian life is meant to be full of joy and love and goodness, right? We were all told that God has a great and wonderful plan for our lives, that He wants to bless and prosper us. Where’s the light and easy yoke? Where’s the comfort, and the peace that surpasses all understanding? These are all legitimate promises and verses in the Bible, yet, in reality, it often feels like we rarely ever experience it. The fallen world gets the better of us. Sin crouches at the door, and it feels like we rarely rule over it. Depression smashes us and leaves us without hope, and we end up feeling like the Psalter who says:
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me? (Psalm 42:2-5a)
Notice though the glimmer of hope, how he longs to gladly shout praises amid his sorrow. How hard it is to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I get that … I really do. God, dear beloved friend, gets it even more. Jesus, the man of sorrows shares in your pain, your anguish and your tears and He took them to the Cross. He longs to take hold of you and never let go. He loves you more then I could ever express in mere words. I know it’s impossible for you to see, but He offers new life.
Depression is dark and uncertain, but God called forth light and defeated darkness on the Cross so that we might live and live it abundantly.
I don’t have answers. God does. Take up your swords fellow depressed and beaten down brothers and sisters, slay that which seeks to destroy your soul, take hold of the One who wants to bear your burden and for God sakes join arms with others. Please, we want to help you even if all we can do is hug you tight and pray. The fight sucks, but it is worth it…
Finally, here is my challenge: