You are the One who has given me every good thing in my life. You are the One who has given me not only the hope of salvation, but of Heaven, Lord. It was You who led my ancestors through many challenging days, through death and right into Your arms, Lord. I would like to ask one thing, Lord. I'm tired. I'm so very tired today. I don't know what else to say. I don't know what else to do. I just pray You give me strength. Give me the courage and tenacity to continue living for You in these difficult times. Allow me the spiritual brawn to lead my family to Your gates, Jesus.
"Prayin' for ya, kid." Those are the words with which James would end every phone call. James was a "resident" of a State Hospital where he resided since the 70s, when, in his early 20s, he committed a crime worthy of a life sentence in a hospital for the criminally insane. He never told me what he did to get there, and I never asked. All I can say I grew to love him like a brother, and was proud to call him “friend.”
We live in uncertain times, but Psalm 46 invites the world to witness a future when wars and striving will cease and all the nations know and worship the one True God. It reassures us, “When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless. When mountains crumble and the waters run wild, we are sure and fearless. Even in heavy winds and huge waves, or as mountains shake, we are sure and fearless.”
Some days life cuts you off at the knees, submerging you in darkness, nearly swallowing you whole. I’ve been there, friend. So have many others. But just as the mountains are everlasting, undying and unalterable, so is the Lord. God promises to love and protect us. He cannot be moved. He stands forever. He surrounds His people. Pretty cool, right?
Being an artistic soul, and having gone through so much pain, sorrow, anger and depression, I have a short list of songs which thunder in my spirit. At times a lost child and at other times a blood-drenched soldier, these anthems make up the DNA of my warrior soul.
Seems to me depression and anger are two crooked limbs on the same bitter, misshapen tree. Long-term depression can make it difficult to handle emotions, increasing the likelihood of anger outbursts. So, the question becomes: how do we battle the anger?
Nobody else looks at you as critically as YOU do. Others see your assets; all you see are your liabilities. Your faults and shortcomings. Others are younger, thinner, smarter, more talented, wittier and better looking, right? Well, the good news is God doesn’t judge people the way we do. He looks right into your heart, and sees the kind of person you are on the inside. With God, lambs become lions.
The dark cloud of depression can be emotionally crippling, can it not? We keep swallowing all that vile bitterness, not wanting to burden anyone. Suffering in silence. Sometimes our friends and family are aware and sometimes they’re not. Some interpret our depression as laziness, while others see it as a serious lack of motivation. Well, maybe it’s laziness, maybe it’s age, maybe it’s chronic fatigue, but maybe, just maybe, it’s depression. I'm here to say I feel ya, but I'm not giving in. I'm not gonna quit, and you can't either.
Our hearts are heavy with the burdens of this world. The physical and emotional agony smother us at times, Lord. Like we’re drowning. We’re so tired; soul-weary. The pain and the depression and the anxiety are almost too much to bear. Yet, we are not defeated, but look forward to Heaven. We pray for the strength to endure, so we can someday see that great and eternal land. The storm clouds grow darker, grayer, but we know just beyond those clouds awaits our true home.
The world is getting colder, angrier and deadlier; more violent and desperate, I think. Spirits—that is, hearts, attitudes, emotions—seem to be heavy these days. Like we’re struggling to even breathe, or at least that’s my impression. Bon Jovi said, “Keep the Faith.” Eric Clapton said he was “Running on Faith,” and Kid Rock described his “Lonely Road of Faith.” Real faith, however, comes at a cost of tears and blood. Sometimes it may even cost us our life, but it is the only path to genuine peace of mind.