SIMPLE TRUTH: How can I go on?

Published 10:25 am Monday, June 16, 2014

By Charles Christmas

Has the question in the title of this article ever entered or disturbed your mind? It has mine. Have you ever wondered, “How will I ever make it or make it until a certain time or ever finish?” I have. Did you ever ask yourself, “Why did I ever take all this upon myself?” I have. Have you ever been obsessed with the thoughts, “I need an easier, less painful responsibility?” I have. Have you ever been filled with the thoughts, “Where do I go from here; can I make an exit?” I have. And, in some way, I am right now going through one of the above, known only to God, to my daughter and son and to my closest friend.

This article is not a neat and over-simplified little “1, 2, 3” for how to get relief from simple depression. Nor, is it by any means meant to be a substitute for medical or professional help for serious depression.

A nationally known pastor, whom I once heard speak for four evenings, wrote a partial autobiography titled “The Confessions of a Fellow Struggler.” That could well have been the summary title of this brief article.

In one of the most practical books of all time, “The Purpose Driven Life,” a helpful chapter can be summarized in one statement: life is a test, a trust and a temporary assignment. My article focuses on the seeming unending tests in my and our life.

Yesterday I remembered several of the numerous times of testing in my journey. There was a biblical pattern: inner concern and burden and light depression and questions; finding hope in God alone; and a restoration of affirmation and praise to God who delivers, rescues, sets free and makes whole. Beginning in Psalm 42:5, within 16 verses, there are three verses which have the exact wording. They outline my own biblical pattern above and may be helpful to you. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

I have meditated intensely on James 1:2-7 for the last three days concerning the various tests or trials of life which may come our way. God says consider such an experience a joy. Now that’s tough to do! But he says it relates to our faith, and the testing of our faith is for the purpose of developing endurance or perseverance; and the finished work of enduring and persevering by faith is that it will make us mature and complete. We may prefer instant relief, but God seems to have a different plan. God is a giving Father and desires that in our trials, we ask in unwavering faith for wisdom.

Another helpful passage I have meditated upon today is Matthew 11:28-30. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Recently I have been weary and burdened and in need of the rest for heart and mind and soul which only Jesus can give; and he invites you and me to his rest. He says that he cares and desires to help us. He invites us to come with our questions, doubts and weariness. He has something for us that he calls “a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.” I come.

Today I especially meditated on Psalms 105:4-7. “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done.” Along with the failures in my journey, I remembered some of the wonders my Lord had brought to pass in my personal life and in Louise and my nearly 68 years. I remembered “He is the same yesterday, today and forever.” So I will look to the Lord and his strength and seek his face. Therefore, I and we can and will go on.

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.