Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pressed but not crushed

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

The last time I saw my counselor, I mean hopefully the LAST, she asked me to be ready for the next time the symptoms of depression might creep in.  Every once in a while I will have a few bad days which I know are related to hormones but I still absolutely freak out over it.  Those of you who have suffered with postpartum depression or any depression might know what I mean.  The first bad day might trigger another bad day, and before you know it you're taking meds and seeing doctors again.  So I'm always scared of that scenario playing out all over again.  The reality is...that probably WON'T happen.  Everyone has bad days-hormonal or otherwise-it's just that when you've been through a traumatic time related to depression, it's terrifying.

My counselor suggested I keep it simple, come up with one or two verses that really sustain me during tough times.  It had been nearly  four months since I had a bad day so I ignored her advice.  I always thought I'd get around to it but I never sat down with my Bible and made this activity a priority.  I had thought of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 but never delved into this idea of preparing for "next" time.  

So last Wednesday when I was having a bad day out of the blue, these verses from the New Testament became my sustaining verses.  And the next day down the road that is bad?  I'll use these as my strength.  Sometimes we just need a renewed perspective.  Nine times out of ten that's what scripture provides for me in tough times.  

Yes, we are hard pressed but we are NOT crushed.  I don't know about you, but god has formed me into a pretty tough person, I can take hard pressing nowadays.  But God knows we can't take being crushed.  He wouldn't allow it.  We are perplexed but NOT in despair.  If you are struggling with depression, you might feel despair--I know I did.  But you aren't in despair.  There is a difference!  Being IN despair means you have no hope at all.  Your circumstances might seem hopeless but we can always feel hopeful in our God!  In Hebrews 6:19, the Bible says our hope in Christ is an anchor for our soul.  That's serious language.  How can we feel despair with such a strong anchor?  Easy, we're human.  But God's intent for us is to see him as our hope, not our circumstances as our demise.  Next, we are persecuted at times but we are NOT abandoned.  The world is a cruel, cruel place.  Men will persecute us for the sake of Christ.  People will hate it when we love him.  Christians might be annoyed with us if we don't follow all the man-written rules.  At times you may feel like you can't please anyone.  Galatians 1:10 has something to say about that--"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."  Although you are persecuted, Christ will be there with you.  And last, we are struck down but NOT destroyed.  How about you?  Is something striking you down right now?  Are you in a tough place?  I know of a family here in Minneapolis who just lost their 3 year old daughter to cancer.  I can't really think of a tougher place to be.  But God does not leave people. He wants us to live abundant lives. He doesn't want us to have crushed spirits, be in despair, abandoned, or  destroyed.  He wants us to come to him with our heavy burdens and he'll give us rest.  

My prayer for you is that you will meditate on 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 today.  Then ask God to help you get that message in your heart.  Someday you will have a bad day, a rough patch, a trauma, something.  I promise it's coming.  Parenting isn't easy.  Marriage isn't easy.  Life is full of rough stuff.  Are you ready?  

Here's to resting in him,

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