Proverbs 12:25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.
When I was in my early days of adulthood, I had friends who experienced depression. I often failed to grasp how big of a toll that it took on them and how much it weighed them down. I always thought that we were too young to be depressed. It has only been recently that I have come to terms with what depression is and how it affects me. Most would find it difficult to identify when I am depressed. My demeanor is one that is generally categorized as “optimistic.” I would say that I most always have a positive, can-do attitude. However, if I am not as “cheery” as usual, that is a good sign that something is not all right in Rossland. Perhaps you are asking, “Why is he telling us all of this? Is it a plea for help? Does he want pity?” Not – at – all! I simply want to share with you the struggle of life, so that you will understand that you are not alone.
Months ago, I began to set up an office in my house to use as a quiet place for my personal study and devotion time. Earlier in the year, I had moved out of my church office. It had been a small, cramped space; but it was mine! The Lord had put me in it, and I was satisfied to be there for 20+ years as an assistant pastor. However, events did not unfold as I thought they would. Now, I have been out of that position for over a year, and I am still waiting on the Lord to put me and my family in our ministry where we can spend the next 20-30 years. Setting up the home office proved to be very difficult: every book, picture, and note that I pulled out was supposed to have a place in that previous office. Eventually, my conflicting emotions got the best of me, and I gave up. Over the last few months, things have piled up on the desk, and it has turned into a general mess.
Tonight, things changed. The Lord has been working on me, and I endeavored to give it a go! I began sorting through some of the papers; and, with a fresh attitude and a new perspective, I began to throw out some things. Then, I came across some items that brought me to tears. These were not the negative, depressed tears. (Though I had to be careful, as it would have been easy to go there.) No, these were tears of precious memories that the Lord used to encourage me. They were thank you cards and notes that had been given to me when I was a youth pastor. The amazing thing was that these cards were not from my teens, although they gave me lots of cards. Instead, these notes were from adult members and families of the church that I had made a difference in their lives. God said to me, “See, it wasn’t all in vain!” Then, I came across my notebook. For some time, as I read through my Bible, if I was drawn to a verse, or it jumped out at me, I would copy it verbatim in longhand into my notebook. Tonight, I began to read through these verses again. Many of them were promises or words of encouragement, and the Lord broke my heart. Why was I not still doing this? Why did I stop writing down the wonderful words of God? I felt like it was time for me to forget my complaint and leave off my heaviness, much like Job did in Job 9:27.
What is the moral of the story? It is two fold. First, keep those notes that people give you. It may seem like the token thank you card or note at the time you receive it, but the time may come when you are depressed and need to be lifted up. Those notes will be a big help. Second, don’t just read through your Bible. Take the time to copy down verses that bless your heart. It was a powerful journey for me reading back through those verses tonight after so much time has passed. God used them then, and he used them now. They were overwhelmingly positive, and the Lord knew that I needed that! He can use His Words to do the same thing for you. Remember – , “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad!”