Step One: When You Feel Like You’re Sinking Fast?

 flare-iphoto-export-372270202Soft-spoken and kind, he’d put the Farmer right at ease and they’d talked hogs and dirt and sky and the sovereignty of God over seeds and all small things. He gave advice, humble and gracious, fatherly. We talked words. He’d prayed over us. I had told the Farmer that on the way home, that it’s pure grace when you meet someone and walk away thinking, “He was so much like Jesus.”

Max Lucado is like that to everyone he meets. Author of more than 30 best-selling books, named “America’s Pastor” by Reader’s Digest, Max has a shepherd’s heart, a story-teller’s gift and a poet’s pen — one of my favorite writers and people. When I quietly slipped Max a note, an invitation to come to the farm’s front porch with words, Max kindly said yes, packed up life-line words and sits a spell here on the porch swing and you can hear the slowly, steady assurance of his southern drawl in a world that keeps swinging and rocking hard:

Life comes at us with flying fists:

job dismissals, pink slips, divorce court and disease. We are prone to wonder, Will I get through this?” 

The repeated and resounding promise of the Bible is this: “Yes!” It may not be quick or easy, but with God’s help, you will get through this. God has resources to help you.

Years ago, my wife Denalyn battled a dark cloud of depression. Every day was gray.

Her life was loud and busy–two kids in elementary school, a third in kindergarten, and a husband who didn’t know how to get off the airplane and stay home.

The days took their toll. Depression can buckle the knees of the best of us, but it can be especially difficult for the wife of a pastor. Congregants expect her to radiate joy and bite bullets. But Denalyn, to her credit, was never one to play games.

On a given Sunday, when the depression was suffocating, she armed herself with honesty and went to church. If people ask me how I am doing, I’m going to tell them.

She answered each, “How are you?” with a candid, “Not well. I’m depressed. Will you pray for me?

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Casual chats became long conversations.

Brief hellos became heartfelt moments of ministry.

By the time she left the worship service, she had enlisted dozens of people to hold up her arms in the battle of prayer.

She traces the healing of her depression to that Sunday morning service. She found God’s presence amidst God’s people.

Do you need to do likewise? Tough times stir the hermit within us. We want to hide out, run away and avoid human contact. In reality, we need community.

Lean on God’s people. Cancel your escape to the Himalayas. Forget the deserted island. Be a barnacle on the boat of God’s church.

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Mt. 18:20 nkjv, emphasis mine.)

Would the sick avoid the hospital?

The hungry avoid the food pantry?

Would the discouraged abandon God’s Hope Distribution Center? Only at great risk. His people purvey His presence.

Moses and the Israelites once battled the Amelekites. The military strategy of Moses was a strange one. He commissioned Joshua to lead the fight in the valley below. Moses ascended the mountain to pray. But he did not go alone. He took his two lieutenants, Aaron and Hur.

While Joshua led physical combat, Moses engaged in a spiritual one. Aaron and Hur stood on either side of their leader to hold up his arms in the battle of prayer. The Israelites prevailed because Moses prayed.

Moses prevailed because he had a community to pray with him.

You need the same. You’ll get through this dark season.

And you’ll get through it much quicker with the help of God’s church.

 

 

{Max graciously adapted this blog post from his upcoming book You’ll Get Through This  ©2013 Max Lucado, published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Releasing September 2013, pre-orders available at Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and CBD.com.}

Perhaps it’s a difficult promise for you to believe. After all, who can understand your struggle? Who’s been in your shoes and seen the depth of your pit? You fear the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave. Will this gray sky ever brighten? This load ever lighten? Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy, and everywhere. Take Hope: You will Get Through This

Related Posts:
What Christians Really Need to Know About Mental Health
How Hurting Women Can Help Each Other…and If You’ve Ever Been Wounded by Women 

Thursday, June 6th, 2013 | Faith, Prayer