A few months ago we received an email from China. It distressed us a lot for it told us someone, a few of us had helped to counsel, had taken his own life. Separated from his wife and son whom he had not been allowed to see for many years, he must have been in dark depression…despair. (A local social scientist estimated that 1/5 to 1/4 of all the world’s suicides take place in the country!)
Yes, some of us do go through such dark tunnels (such as clinical depression) for whatever reasons. The darkness may last for days, months and even years when the meaning and point of life simply disappear. We pray apparently to an empty heaven. Yes, Godly people are not spared.
In this we are not alone, for the great New Testament scholar J B Philips also suffered from a period of deep dark depression during which all usual appreciation of beauty, love and goodness disappeared.
His testimony, in his own words of how he finally came through:
“I would like to state categorically, as I emerge from such a tunnel, that despite all that feeling or non-feelings have told me, my convictions remain unshaken.
Who, do you think, is responsible for this?
J.B. Philips? No on your life!
Only the God who is our inescapable contemporary.”
Yes, sometimes we are cast down, depressed and even in despair. Going through such dark valleys and shadowy times we need reminders that men may disappoint us, even desert us but our God, our Loving Father never does… As for me, when such times come, I cling onto the comforting words of our Lord:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28) Then I am assured again that Nothing will ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Rom 8:29-30 sealed the glorious fact for us. The verses tell us that:
- It is God’s Sovereign Purpose and Will that we will never be separated from the Love of God in Christ Jesus.
It is the guarantee that we will finish the race. It is the guarantee that we will persevere and prove to be more than conquerors when such desperate times come in our personal lives. Indeed nothing ever happens by chance… even times of testing and trials. Rather He allows them.
- Secondly, we are more than conquerors because we have the Resurrection Power of Jesus within us. (Phil 3:10)
Don Carson paraphrased Rom 8:35-38 thus:
“The glories of life will not finally seduce them, the terrors of death will not finally sway them, neither the pressure of the present nor the frustrations of the future will destroy them.”
Indeed all things work for good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). Nothing can ever snatch us from the loving protective arm of our Lord Jesus!
Therefore let us look afresh unto Jesus the author and finisher of our Faith as we run this race until we see Him face to face.
By Dr Leong Chee Lu (YCKC Bulletin 24&25 May 2014)