We all have them. We usually hate them. They come at us mercilessly with no retreat. One thing on top of another, after another.
Like my bad day, which was really more like four bad days rolled into one long Mount Everest like journey.
Toilets overflow. Sink drains get backed up--in need of Drain-O and spills out of the trap. Then the floor of the cupboard is warped and wet. There's a hole in the bathroom door. Breakfast messes all over, burned finger with the curling iron, (my grey hair is showing,) trying to get out the door to go to church, no socks or shoes, where's the diaper bag, Finally in the truck, buckled up, where's the crock pot for church dinner, back to the driveway, return to the car, spills the coffee, stained white turtleneck, back in the driveway, takes a Tylenol, finally on the way, only 30 minutes late.
Just getting past the morning was a challenge, but now we are listening to praise music in the car. I'm feeling better, ready to face the day and be pleasant. The kids go to Sunday School and I go to the back of the truck to retrieve the crock pot full of sweet and sour meatballs. I find it upside down in the cargo area.
I have a nice travel crock pot, with a tight fitting lid and a zippered carrying case. Amazingly it contained the whole sticky mess and kept it all inside. I knew, however, that I would have cleanup when I got to the kitchen. God gave me the grace to keep a smile on my face regardless of the dripping oozing mess concealed inside the zippered container.
After 30 minutes of scrubbing, washing and rinsing, my crock was plugged in, and the meatballs were heating again nicely, only missing a cup or two of the sauce. I missed Sunday School and decided that worship service was where I needed to be.
Boy, did I ever...
God knows our needs. I say that a lot, because lately that's what He keeps assuring me. From one end of the bulletin to the other, I read of God's provision, his love, and His assurance that I am not alone.
A friend of mine posted a link to message by R.C. Sproul, entitled The Dark Night of the Soul. R.C. says this about depression:
"This phenomenon describes a malady that the greatest of Christians have suffered from time to time. It was the malady that provoked David to soak his pillow with tears. It was the malady that earned for Jeremiah the sobriquet, “The Weeping Prophet.” It was the malady that so afflicted Martin Luther that his melancholy threatened to destroy him. This is no ordinary fit of depression, but it is a depression that is linked to a crisis of faith, a crisis that comes when one senses the absence of God or gives rise to a feeling of abandonment by Him."
I've been in this dark place. I have said those very words. Months ago I wrote in my personal journal, (only part of it will I quote here, much is too dark for me to even reread.) After unemployment stretched on and on, the army not accepting Bear's active duty packet, the mortgage company threatening to foreclose, and my suburban being repossessed, I described my crisis of faith in this way.
"Everyone says to me, 'You must believe in God's Word...' 'You have to trust that He says He will never leave you or forsake you...' 'He is with you always, you just have to look to Him and believe...' 'It will all work out, you'll see, and you'll look back and understand why you went through what you went through.' (and this is a good one,) 'He'll never give you more than you can handle.' So, what if I can't even believe that this IS the word of God, what if God isn't even there. What if He just created us and leaves us to our own devises and this is just what we get for being selfish, wicked human beings. I cannot believe anymore!! He has drug me into too deep of a pit and I can't get out. This is more than I can handle!"
That's where I was several months ago. I was in a Dark Night of the Soul, and that is exactly what my depression was rooted in, my belief that God did not exist, or if he did then he didn't care about me and had abandoned me.
He pulled us out of that pit. He set our feet on solid ground and made the path straight before us.
He has not left us, He is using people, circumstances, hymns, and scripture to anoint my wounded heart. He is bandaging my broken spirit with His word--to let me know that I am not alone, that even the psalmist David soaked his pillow with tears.
The words of Charles Wesley spoke to me today during the hymn of the day. I don't know why that particular hymn was chosen, it didn't seem to fit with the topic of the transfiguration of Christ, but it was just what I needed to hear; verse three of "Christ Whose Glory Fills the Skies"
"Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day."
R.C. speaks again of this crisis of faith, he says. "Spiritual depression is real and can be acute... Our faith is not a constant action. It is mobile. It vacillates. We move from faith to faith, and in between we may have periods of doubt when we cry, 'Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief.' "
I am at this point in my recovery. I can now acknowledge that He is here and I'm trying to believe, but I still doubt at times.
Bad days happen, toilets overflow, crock pots spill their contents and ooze sticky messes, coffee cups dribble on white shirts and people get cranky.
He is there to comfort us through those bad days with words such as these, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Cor. 4:7–10).
Our joy comes from the Lord, not of ourselves. We cannot produce joy without first being filled with the joy of the Lord.
During my Dark Night, I was going through motions but I wasn't IN the word of God. I carried my Bible, but it wasn't open much of the time. I hid behind a facade of the cheerful Christian and didn't allow those around me to see my hurt, and I didn't listen to much of the comforting words that were said to me.
I knew in my head that Jesus had gone through much more than what I was called to bear, but that didn't make it any easier, after all He is God! But R.C. put that in perspective for me as well. That doesn't mean that Jesus was a Pollyanna, always being "glad" in the face of trials. He knew grief too;
"Our Lord Himself was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Though grief may reach to the roots of our souls, it must not result in bitterness. Grief is a legitimate emotion, at times even a virtue, but there must be no place in the soul for bitterness. In like manner, we see that it is a good thing to go to the house of mourning, but even in mourning, that low feeling must not give way to hatred."
The sermon title today was "The View From Up Here." I mentioned before that pastor was talking about the transfiguration. The sermon title means so much more to me. The view from up here is so much better than the pit that I was in. The bitterness and hatred are fading away and being replaced by His love and provision for me. The depression and darkness of my soul are giving way to His light, as bright as the noonday sun, as I return to the presence of God and bask in His glory.