Go to Home Page

Sunday Sermon - 1/13/02 
The Blues - Lamentations 3:22

The Blues

"Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed; because His compassions fail not" (Lamentations 3:22)

Dennis, at the VA Hospital, was talking about depression, and he used the awful but wonderful phrase, "Incomprehensible demoralization" to describe how he felt; which is "The Blues" gone really bad. He has said it’s "OK" to talk about this, and I will.

Dennis didn’t recall a specific event that "triggered" his depression. "It was just like someone hit a light switch; one minute I was OK, and in the next, I was depressed. Everything changed." And then he said, "I just didn’t want to be a quad (quadriplegic) anymore."

We talked for quite awhile, and he had much good to say, mixed with some that was difficult. The Lord certainly "speaks" to Dennis, and at one point he nodded toward a palm tree, and commented on it: "They keep trimming away the dead stuff and it just keeps growing higher and higher." Dennis knows that through it all, God is with him and is doing a work in his life.

This was true of the prophet Jeremiah, and I thought of his "other" book, the Book of Lamentations, while Dennis was speaking. Jeremiah said, "I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. He has led me and made me walk in darkness and not in light. Surely He has turned His hand against me time and time again throughout the day" (Lamentations 1:1-3).

Jeremiah was depressed. Much like Dennis, the prophet could actually SEE the hand of God in the terrible events of his life. In an "up" moment Jeremiah said, "Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore I will hope in Him" (Lamentations 3:22-24).

Both Dennis and Jeremiah had come up against circumstances that were terrible and yet they also saw the hand of God in what had happened. Events had spun out of control and sadness was everywhere, but both of them could say, "Great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:23). God is indeed faithful to you and me.

Do you ever feel so bad about yourself that you just don't think you can go on? That's the way Dennis and Jeremiah felt, and it's hard to be in that place. We can become overwhelmed by what we have done and who we are, and you can easily fall into the pit of despair. Hopefully you'll read God's Word then, but Dennis observed that it's tough to open the Bible at such times, though there is a lot to be gained by doing so.

Much of the Bible is about people. It tells of God, and we meet Him in those tear-stained pages. But in reading, you'll find you're not alone, because not only is God with you in sorrow, but you’ll find others just like you. Suffering is common among the people of this earth, and many you would not expect have experienced great depression.

Moses got depressed. If you don't see it in his life, you'll find it in his Psalm, which is listed as Psalm 90. He said "we have been consumed by Your anger, and by Your wrath we are terrifiedall our days have passed away in Your wrath; we finish our days like a sigh." (Psalm 90:7-9). And then he continued, "The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow" (Psalm 90:10).

Moses had thought a man would be dead at 80 years old, but he was precisely 80 when God called to him from the burning bush (Acts 7:23,30). When Moses was forty, he had killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew (Exodus 2:11-12). He was in the prime of life and considered himself an ideal candidate to deliver Israel. But because of the killing he had to run for his life. You can be sure that when he sat by the well in Midian (Exodus 2:15), he was entering a life of many regrets.

Then it was forty years later and God had just drawn Moses to the bush that burned but was not consumed (Exodus 3:2). Just when he thought he was about to die of old age, God called to him from within the bush and told him to go back and deliver Israel! No wonder Moses asked, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" (Exodus 3:12).

He did not yet understand that his Inability was God’s Opportunity. It had been a very depressing forty years for Moses, until the time of the burning bush, and now this man who had been confident at forty; KNEW he couldn’t do the job at eighty.

Paul, who also had tended toward depression, saw the application and said, "I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Your weakness, your tendency to get depressed, your inability to do the job, may look TERRIBLE on a human resume, but in God’s hand, you are a DYNAMITE candidate for the position of King’s Ambassador. For this job, you merely need to be willing.

When we REST in Christ, He does the work. George Matheson said, "Thou must rest, O soul, if thou wouldst have thy heart's desire. Still the beating of thy pulse of personal care. Hide thy tempest of individual trouble behind the altar of a common tribulation and the Lord shall appear to thee. The rainbow shall span the place of the subsiding flood, and in thy stillness thou shalt hear the everlasting music."

Give us rest, Lord. Heal our emotions, and let us trust in You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)