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Archive for August 16th, 2014

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On August 11, 2014, Robin Williams was found hanging in his bedroom by his personal assistant in Tiburon, in Northern California.  He was pronounced dead by those who arrived at the scene.  Williams is considered a comedian icon who is praised as the king of comedy who knew how to make people laugh.  But a huge turn of events changed his life.  The king of comedy who tried to keep everyone happy later became a victim to the fiery darts of this nemesis: depression.  It’s a sharp blade that slowly cuts through the soul of a man.  If the man has no shield to protect him, this sharp blade will move deeper into the human soul in order to take captive the mind of man.  Please pray for the family during this difficult time.  May the Gospel of Christ makes its way to the family so they can taste the power of the Living Water.

Depression is has played a prominent role in many of my counseling sessions.  I have seen the bad and ugly side of it.  The only hope I believe is the Great Physician who prescribes the right medicine to those who are willing to schedule an appointment of Him.  If you are in the Valley of Vision, come to the Lord because He will comfort you.  No one can comfort and bring hope to the soul like the Great Physician.  He knows the human heart and human nature.

The most experienced psychologist or observer of human nature knows infinitely less of the human heart than the simplest Christian who lives beneath the Cross of Jesus. The greatest psychological insight, ability, and experience cannot grasp this one thing: what sin is. Worldly wisdom knows what distress and weakness and failure are, but it does not know the godlessness of man. And so it also does not know that man is destroyed only by his sin and can be healed only by forgiveness. Only the Christian knows this. In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner. The psychiatrist must first search my heart and yet he never plumbs its ultimate depth. The Christian brother knows when I come to him: here is a sinner like myself, a godless man who wants to confess and yearns for God’s forgiveness. The psychiatrist views me as if there were no God. The brother views me as I am before the judging and merciful God in the Cross of Jesus Christ.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community

A relevant prayer concerning this heavy melancholy is vividly described in this prayer from one of the puritan prayers from the The VALLEY OF VISION: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotionals.  This prayer touches the core of the spiritually depressed man and women.

THE VALLEY OF VISION

LORD, HIGH and HOLY, MEEK and LOWLY,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
     where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
     hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
     that the way down is the way up,
     that to be low is to be high,
     that the broken heart is the healed heart,
     that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
     that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
     that to have nothing is to possess all,
     that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
     that to give is to receive,
     that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
     and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
          thy life in my death,
          thy joy in my sorrow,
          thy grace in my sin,
          thy riches in my poverty
          thy glory in my valley.

Ancient prayers concerning this problem is also documented in the Bible.  See Psalm 119:25-32.  Real emotions from a man’s soul that is an melancholy state is here documented for us too see.  I remember preaching a message from this passage and it was comforting to me.  Please watch how the psalmist responds:

Daleth.

25 My soul cleaves to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
26 I have told of my ways, and You have answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
So I will meditate on Your wonders.
28 My soul weeps because of grief;
Strengthen me according to Your word.
29 Remove the false way from me,
And graciously grant me Your law.
30 I have chosen the faithful way;
I have placed Your ordinances before me.
31 I cling to Your testimonies;
O Lord, do not put me to shame!
32 I shall run the way of Your commandments,
For You will enlarge my heart.” 

The psalmist understood that the only help, the life vest for His soul as it is drowning in the sea of melancholy, is the transcendent Word of God.

Here are some other helpful sermons from the once bonafide and renown doctor who later became a preacher because he wanted to operate on the inner man: Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  He produced many sermons from his series on Spiritual Depression that I encourage you to listen if you or someone you know is experiencing depression.  The Doctor deals with this problem boldly, truthfully, and lovingly.  I have listened to more than four of his messages from this series and they have been phenomenal expositions.  May it help you as it has been of great value and help to me.

Spiritual Depression

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