Tuesday, April 14, 2009

From Hopelessness to Hope

I thought I would do something a little different for this post. Below are two entries from my diary. I wrote This is so Hard in July 1990 while still in the pits of depression – a time when I had no hope. I could see no future, everything was bleak, desolate, and there was no end in sight.

I wrote A Special Place in January 1992, while recovering from depression. This was after I had been shown the route to recovery, a time when hope had re-entered my life. I had already made significant leaps and bounds in my recovery, but was still afflicted by panic attacks, episodes of endless mental churning, extreme exhaustion, and so on.

This is so Hard 3rd July 1990
Sometimes, it seems that being a Christian hinders more than it helps.
My understanding of God was then when someone was going through a hard time,
He would strengthen them,
That He would help and heal them.
Yet, I find that for much of the time,
I try to forget about Him, because when I think of Him,
I see Someone who could heal me simply by speaking two words,
"Be healed."

I know what He can do, and I've seen what He can do.
I know it is in His character to heal all people of all sicknesses.
Yet, I am still here.
I keep going around in circles.
Why am I in such a mess? Jesus can heal me.
But regardless of how I've sought Him so far,
There's been nothing tangible,
So, I get angry and bitter.
And then I repent of my anger and bitterness,
And ask Him to help me to wait faithfully and patiently for Him.
It's just like when I suffered from insomnia.
He could have stepped in and stopped it, but He did not,
So I got angry - angry at Him, and angry at my body.

But I eventually learnt not to get angry,
So again here, step by step, I am learning to be patient,
But it is so hard, so hard.

I just want to get on with my life.
Will I ever be me again?
I just wish this sensation of being disturbed all the time would go away.
And know it will never come back.
I am not coping, and I know that.
I keep saying, "If I had inner peace, then I would cope."
But I know the Bible says that He is enough,
That Jesus is all we need.
That is easy to say,
But how can I say it,
When I can't see or hear Him doing anything to help?
Yet I'm sure He is helping, that He is carrying me,
But I just wish He would comfort me,
And let me see that He is comforting me.
It would help so much.

As I mentioned in previous posts, at this time I still adhered to the false assumption that God would not allow us to undergo such sufferings. See my previous entry, The Storms of Life. At this time, I also sought a miracle healing from depression. And although Jesus could have healed me instantly, I am so, so glad that He did not do so. Why?

The answer lies in the words I wrote above, “I just wish this sensation of being disturbed all the time would go away. And know it will never come back.

If Jesus had healed my depression by a miracle, I would have learnt nothing from the ordeal, and would have slipped back into depression when the next major trial came along. If I had received a miracle healing, I would not have changed the faulty underlying thought processes that had contributed to my descent into depression in the first place. I am so thankful that the Lord taught me how to recover, and in doing so, taught me how to avoid succumbing to depression again.

Below is what I wrote just over a year after This is so Hard. Jesus had taken my despair and hopelessness and given me “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3.

A Special Place 10/1/92
There is a special place I love to go,
A place where I meet with a Real Person,
A place in which I can never spend enough time,
A place I never want to come back from,
A place that builds me up, and makes me content.
A place in which I can meet with the most Wonderful Person,
Who waits for me to come, to enjoy my company and friendship?
It is a place to which I can bring all my fears and worries,
And have them taken away from me, and be comforted in them.
It is where I can bring all my delights and joys,
Where I can share all my thoughts, hopes, and desires.
It is a place of fellowship and companionship.
A place where I can find my true worth,
As I see myself reflected in eyes that truly love me.

Where is this place?
It is at the feet of my Lord Jesus, at the foot of His throne.
There is always a place for me there in heaven.
Jesus tells me that He always keeps it available for me,
That at any time, whether morning or night, dusk or dawn,
When I lay down to sleep, when I rise in the morning,
Whether at work or play, He keeps this place for me.
I can come and sit on my knees at the feet of my Lord.
He is seated upon His glorious throne, ruling all creation,
All of the heavenly hosts are gathered around Him,
I stare up at His Wonderful face,
A face that I have dreamt about seeing countless times,
To see His gentle, loving, glorious nature revealed there,
To see him smile at me, driving away all my inhibitions,
His smile eclipses the light of the sun and moon,
And fills my heart with such delight that I can barely contain it.

I look into His eyes, and my heart is moved beyond words.
And those eyes look at me, and He smiles through them.
I see eternity, compassion, love, and kindness.
I see myself reflected in His eyes, and then
I know how much I really mean to Him. He really loves me.
And I hear His voice, that voice which made all things,
Forming the fabric of the universe simply by speaking.
The voice which sustains all creation, holding all things together.
His voice is soothing and comforting, I can hide in it.
And He speaks to me, telling me that He appreciates me,
That He waits for me to come and be with Him, to love Him.
He builds me up, tells me I'm special, that I am His.
He says that nothing can ever snatch me from His hands.
And I delight in every word He speaks and has spoken.
Not one of His eternal words will ever pass away.

And as I sit at the feet of Jesus, I can feel His Presence.
Of all the pleasant sensations I've ever known,
None even begin to compare to His wondrous Presence.
As I worship and praise Him, He pours His Presence out on me.
His Presence satisfies me completely, making me content.
It is a comforting river, into which I can dive headlong,
To feel it swirling all around me, gratifying my thirst.
I could remain there forever, enjoying His company.
And it delights my heart to know that when I am finally with Him,
Sitting at His feet for all eternity, His Presence will never fade.

And while I sit at His feet, staring lovingly at Him,
He reaches out to me with comforting hands.
Comforting hands which have healed me of sickness,
Which hold me tightly, never letting go - they are my refuge.
His hands guide me along the paths of righteousness,
They are the book of life, and my name is written upon them.
He reaches out and gently picks me up, to place me on His lap.
As the Creator to one of His little creatures,
As a Father to his son, He embraces me.
I snuggle up against His strong chest, afraid of nothing.
I curl up in His lap and fall asleep.
And these hands, which formed the heavens and earth,
Are a shield around me. I am safe.

These are the reasons why I delight to visit this special place.
The place where I sit at the feet of my Lord.

Let us rejoice in our Lord, our Saviour, who indeed rescues us from the miry pit and gives us an eternal hope that does not fade.

Isaiah 40:30-31
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

All verses from the NIV.

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    1. That's a great post, Peter. Amazing, isn't it, how God can change a person? From someone who's struggled with depression as well, I can fully understand that first entry. And I can fully understand the second one, too.

    2. Wow, Peter..this is wonderful...that's where I need to go right now...to gaze upon Him..like the other commenter, I do understand...

    3. I got teary eyed reading the 1st one...I pictured the Lord carrying that heavy cross for many miles as if He was uttering, "it's so hard...so hard..." But He took all of the punishment and patiently, He endured...Then comes victory on the 3rd day! And we live again! I'm glad to have found your blog and I'm really touched by your outpouring of your heart. May God continue to inspire you and keep you.

    4. Thank you for letting us into your journal today. You admit the struggle, but leave us with so much hope in Jesus.

      Years ago my husband and I shopped in a thrift store and he purchased a photo of a sad clown. I asked him why he bought it and he said it depicts the way he feels sometimes. He struggles with ADHD. You help me understand so much from the male point of view, Peter. I learn so much from you and want to encourage you in your writing.

      Blessings to you today!

    5. Thanks Billy, it truly is amazing. I find the most beautiful part of God's creation to be the way in which He changes people to be like Christ.

      So glad the post could encourage you today, Sita. Gazing upon our LORD, the I AM, and waiting upon Him, is such an honor. I come away changed every time I seek Him like that.

      Loved your picture of Jesus as He carried the cross, RCUBEs. With the arrival of Easter this past weekend, I have been very conscious of Psalm 22, where we see the staggering anguish our Lord went through in order to redeem us. 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?'

      Thanks for your feedback, Saleslady, and for encouraging me to keep sharing my journey. Praying for your husband, and for you as you as you support him.

    6. Your posting of the contrast was very effective. Wow, how I love to see the silver lining of hope that your ministry so clearly reveals.

    7. Hello Peter,
      I received a link to your blog via Sita. It was nice to hear a male's point of view on Depression. I am in Recovery from Depression and anxiety and will be visiting your site again.

    8. Thanks for dropping by, Michelle. I hope my journey is able to provide encouragement and hope. I pray that the Lord will continue to hold you safely in His hands as He leads you to recovery. It does not happen overnight, but it does happen, and what a relief it is to know that.
      God bless :)

    9. Sooo powerful and real. The contrast between the two journal entries is so clear. Thank you again.

    10. Powerful post, Peter! I admire that you honored God's choice to not heal you instantly but to allow you to "process" through. You learned and have grown stronger throught the process. Thanks for the positive spirit.