by Michele Rayburn
I heard on the news that January 22, 2007 was designated as Blue Monday, the most miserable, gloomiest and most depressing day of the year. Among the reasons cited for this was unpaid Christmas bills and post-Christmas fatigue. In light of this bit of “news”, I thought it was not too late in coming, after all, if I addressed the following issue...(By the way, I felt fine on January 22. In fact, it was my husband’s birthday!):
I really do wish that Pastors would stop reminding us about the "s" word at Christmas. I never heard Jesus mention “suicide” in His teachings and I think He must be saddened that we have to be reminded of it every year along with remembering His birth.
I think it's a well-known fact (about the "s" word) and to hear about it even at church, I think, only encourages the thought and even the very act. Wouldn't it be refreshing if we would just stick with Christ-centered teaching and not be conformed to this world's way of thinking, but rather be transformed by the renewing of our minds from the Scriptures only?
Maybe this sounds like nit-picking, but to some people, this constant reminder (of the "s" word) at Christmas sounds more like a reminder that it is an option, rather than just an innocent statement of fact coming from the pulpit.
Suicide is Satan's counterfeit for "death to self". We hurt so bad sometimes, we feel like we want to die. But what God wants is for us to die to "self". Self-will is like a spoiled child who always wants his way, so he screams and cries and demands his way. Death to self would say that even though I really want something for myself, nevertheless I will accept God's will for the present time for my life, and I will rest in His will for each day to follow.
If we would trust Him, we might see why these trials are coming our way. They usually come so that God will change us, change our heart, to conform us to the image of His Son. We may think it "unusual" (as James says) that we need to have these trials, but I suppose that conforming us to the image of His Son is more in line with God's higher purposes than our temporal happiness.
When we pray, we cannot expect the Lord to give us exactly what we want on our terms, but we can rest in knowing that He will give us what we need according to His will and according to His timing. If His answer is dead silence, that is where our faith will be forced to deepen, as we die to our self and our desires and will.
Getting back to this “Blue Monday” thing...before I knew the Lord, every day was gloomy. And I suppose Monday was the gloomiest of all. But now that I know the Lord, no day is ever as gloomy as it used to be. If I ever sense those feelings coming over me, I focus on the Lord, and on His promises, and on the truth that is found in His Word.
I once heard it said something like this: “My worst day with the Lord is better than my best day without Him”. I can testify that this is true in my life. I used to have a constant battle with depression before I was saved. But now “the battle is the Lord’s”. I have learned to not only put my trust in Him, but I have also learned how to rest in Him. And because of this, I have experienced that “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” that He promises us. (Philippians 4:7)
We really are in a battle, aren’t we? The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” It also says in Ephesians 6:11,13, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil...that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
The truth is that when we are feeling unhappy, gloomy, miserable and/or depressed, it’s really not caused by our outward circumstances...unpaid Christmas bills, post-Christmas fatigue, or even because it is cloudy and gray outside. Rather, these outward circumstances are like a mirror reflecting what is really going on in our hearts. They reveal to us how well we are doing spiritually. If “it is well with our soul”, if we are abiding in Christ, filled with His Spirit, and in close communion with Him, we can weather the storms of life. Because, not only is Christ our Redeemer, but He gave us the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter. And the Lord is also our Counselor. He transforms us by the renewing of our minds through His Holy Word.
Before I knew the Lord, I used to "sing the Blues" along with the Allman Brothers...“They call it Stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad...they call it Stormy Monday...oh, but Tuesday’s just as bad...Wednesday’s worse, and Thursday’s oh so sad...”
Now I “sing a new song”:
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies...The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (Psalm 18:2-3,46)