Friday had been the most difficult day ever. While it started out with a praise service in the Garden, it quickly turned to a dizzying sequence of arrest, skirmish, scattering and disbelief. Then, it was a joke of a trial, a campfire that still didn’t truly warm you, and denial (3 times).
Before you knew it, your Master had been brought before government officials, scourged, mocked, spat upon, and the increasingly growing crowds are screaming for His blood. Yes, Friday was a day you will never be able to forget, no matter how hard you try. The humiliation. The degradation.
The images of your Master being beaten to a bloody pulp, struggling to carry that heavy cross beam up the hill to the place of the Skull are surpassed only by the images of the spikes being driven in His hands and feet just before He is lifted up, high above the city, outside the city gates. There, the Master is hung out to die.
Too much to comprehend.
Hearing His cries of anguish still haunts you. But hearing Him say, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they are doing” is haunting as well. Forgive them? Seriously? Then, as the skies grew dark and the whole earth seemed to shake, He gave up His spirit and died. The Master died. Too much to comprehend.
Waiting, praying for God to intervene, and wondering why He didn’t answer those prayers, now it is Saturday, and the shock has not begun to wear off. You are numb to your very soul. “Why, God? What possible good could come from this? How could You allow the Master to be crucified?”
You keep praying, but God does not seem to answer. The silence is deafening. You are broken in every possible way. You wait.
Still, no clear answer seems to be forthcoming, so you wait.
Your fellow followers of the Master are scattered, but slowly start coming back to a place with which you are all familiar. Hushed sobs fill the air. No one dares speak aloud. All are wondering the same thing: why? What next? Still, no clear answer seems to be forthcoming, so you wait.
You are exhausted from the events of the past 36 hours, but sleep does not come. More crying out to God, “why, God? What do we do now?” Still, no reply. So you do the only thing you know you can do at this moment. You wait.
You have no idea what is coming next, but you are trying desperately to trust God Who knows all and will work all things for the good. At least that’s what you learned over the past three years from sitting at the feet of your Master. Still, it just doesn’t seem like ANYTHING good could possibly come from the events of the past day and a half. You would LOVE to drift off to sleep just for a respite from the anguish, but sleep eludes you. So, you wait.
Friday is done. Saturday is fading away. Sunday is coming. Wait.
Whether anyone else reads this blog post or not, it is one of the more vital writings I have done in quite some time. Hello, my name is Scott. I am a functional depressaholic.
Now, I may have made up that term, but I believe it adequately describes me at this point in my journey with Jesus. I know it is dangerous to self-diagnose, and I have prayed about this A LOT over the past few weeks. A little background first.
The past couple of months are my least favorite time of the year. From mid-September through early November, I am reminded of the loved ones who are no longer with me. My Mom, and both of her parents all passed away during this time period. Different years, but within a month or so of each date where one of them died. It is easy for me to slip into melancholy during this time of year. I was super close to my Mom, and her parents were like a second set of parents to me as well. Granny has been gone since 1987. Mom since 1993. Grandpa since 1997. The pain is no easier today than it was 17 years ago, 22 years ago, and 27 years ago.
Now, I LOVE Jesus, and I know He has what is best for me in mind. I do not doubt that even for one second. I am blessed beyond measure. I have my salvation in Christ Jesus. I have the most wonderful, loving, kind, caring, supportive wife a man could ever hope to have. Our grown children all love Jesus and serve Him to the best of their abilities (most of the time – grin). I have three fantastic grandchildren who are the absolute joys of my life. I serve a congregation of believers who absolutely are family in every since of the word. I have brothers and sisters in Christ, who while parted by miles, are ALWAYS available at the speed of a text, phone call, or video call to pray with me, for me, and about me. I am surrounded by people who love me without reservation or condition. I know that.
Still, I battle with bouts of “gloom, despair and agony on me.” I go through my daily routine. I spend time in prayer. I read God’s Word. I read books by folks who are much closer to God in their walk than I am. I listen to numerous sermon podcasts each week. I even mentor others in the faith. Still, I battle with bouts of “gloom, despair and agony on me.”
As I do so, I am learning a few lessons that I pray will be helpful for others. I am going to share them, because I need to be reminded of them:
1) God is not offended by my doubts.
2) My faith is not weakened by my doubts.
3) Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so.
4) I am blessed beyond belief.
5) My struggles are no less significant than the struggles of others. The comparison game is way too destructive, so stop playing it.
6) Spending time in prayer for the needs of people I know and love is therapeutic.
7) Admitting my struggles as a functional depressaholic is the first step towards true healing.
I am not looking for anyone’s pity. This is not a “pity party” writing. God is in control and He loves me (and you, by the way). I just need to confess this struggle in my life as I also give thanks to the God Who is so patient with and tolerant of me.
Thanks for reading this. I would love to hear any thoughts you may have. Your prayers and encouragement are always welcome. Please know that I pray for those who interact with me on this blog as well!