Copyright © Ada Brownell
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
DEPRESSION: WHAT'S IN THAT HEAVY LOAD YOU CARRY?
Why am I cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I will yet praise him for the help of his countenance” (Psalm 42:5
BY ADA BROWNELL
Parked at a high school waiting for my child after an evening event, students meandered into the parking lot. The teens playfully insulted one another, juggled offensive language into the air like rotten apples, wrapped arms around a few girls, punched buddies, and then I noticed one was drunk.
Although his boisterous laughter filled the air, his eyes spoke louder than his mouth. No smile glistened there. I could see the same hopeless look on the faces of other young people around him. Were the youths from broken homes where the single parent also lacked hope? Dysfunctional foster homes? Did the kids’ have a parent who was ill, abusive, an alcoholic, or just unloving? Or had these teens’ own rebellion consumed them?
I’ll never forget the youngster who didn’t appear more than age 12 or 13 lying unconscious on the grass in our neighborhood green space. He lay there alone while someone called an ambulance and a half dozen or so of us stood by. I prayed, wondering if he'd been injured. I discovered later he suffered from alcohol poisoning, caused by consuming too much alcohol.
What would cause a nice-looking youngster his age to overdose on alcohol? Especially alone?
People everywhere are trying to kill their emotional pain.
If we rummage around in the bag of burdens people carry we find heavy things: anger, grief, hurts, sickness, handicaps, poverty, guilt, grudges, bitterness, lust, hatred, envy, covetousness, rebellion, self doubt, sin and the agony of never filling the God-shaped place inside.
Perhaps they have not heard the prophecy about Jesus: “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory” (Isaiah 61:3NLT).
Jesus confirmed the prophecy was fulfilled in him: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Then He added, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:18, 21KJ).
I’ve often thought the reason for more frequent mass murder, suicide and wide-spread consumption of alcohol and mind-altering drugs is because they coincide with the erasure of faith in God in our homes, schools, government and among our leaders. People try anything to relieve emotional pain except what works—redemption from sin and the accompanying peace and joy.
The Psalmist experienced anguish because of sin and the joy that came with repentance. Perhaps David’s most notable sin was observing Bathsheba bathing and coveting Uriah the Hittite’s wife. He seduced her, and then called Uriah, one of David’s warrior’s, home from battle thinking if she conceived, the husband would think the child was his.
But Uriah was committed to the war and didn’t go home to Bathsheba. So David ordered him sent to the front lines where he would be killed. Uriah was fatally wounded, and the king married Bathsheba.
The Bible says “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23), David was found out, and rebuked by the prophet Nathan for what he had done.
Bathsheba was pregnant and in a few months a boy was born. Yet, the infant was sickly and despite all of David’s crying and seeking God for his son’s life, the little one died.
As he does with many of us, even after David repented, Satan kept accusing the king and his sin haunted him. But the day of his birth, David was a sinner. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Since Adam and Eve sinned, we’re all born with a sinful nature. That is the reason we’re all prone to sin, destined to die and need a Savior and Redemption.
Sin is a horrible thing and one of the nasty things about wickedness is its effect on us and those against whom we sin. Paul told the Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7NKJ).
Although wickedness thrived in every generation, it seems a huge crop of wickedness waves in the fields today.
God is the only one who can lift the heavy burdens of sin, unbelief and rebellion that plague the individual, rob him of peace, strip him of joy, and plunge him into a constant state of despair.
Ignoring the chasm beside the treacherous road we travel will not give us peace. We need to look up, and when we do, believe “He exists and rewards those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11: 6).