What Depression Means to Me: Shut Up, Paul

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Gentle Reader,

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV)

I’m terrible at memorizing Scripture. Terrible meaning I just don’t do it.

This is pretty ridiculous, really. I know how easy it is for my thoughts to go down a dark path. I know that I need to put truth in my mind, truth that I can recall at a moment’s notice. A decade ago I had no problem memorizing entire scripts for plays. On Thanksgiving I sang a song from my childhood that I hadn’t heard in over twenty years. I might be exhausted and my mind might not be what it once was, but I know I have the ability to engrave God’s truth onto my soul.

I chose the above passage to work on over the coming weeks on Saturday evening. Once again I lay on the couch, growing discouraged at how much life I miss while wrapped in this fatigue. Chris was gone, helping with a kid’s program at our church. Friends were scattered here and there. I was too tired even to walk up the street and visit my family. An introvert like me does appreciate her time alone, but there can be too much of a good thing.

I flipped through my Bible, looking for words of encouragement. Something I could hold on to.

As I read what the Apostle wrote all those ages ago, my first response was to say (out loud, even), was, “Shut up, Paul.”

Isn’t it funny how the Spirit works in giving life to the Scripture? I don’t think that God was upset about my reaction. Those are hard words to read in the midst of fatigue and depression. How on earth can I possibly rejoice? This concept shakes me all the more in the face of stolen debit card numbers and possible identity theft.

I closed my Bible. I didn’t want to hear it.

Then I considered the first part of the passage. “Lest I should be exalted above measure.”

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled….” – Matthew 23:12a (NKJV)

I don’t think that God strikes people with ailments or calamity because of their sin as a general rule. If He did, then surely those who perpetrate crimes would be in a far worse state. I do think, however, that God knows each of us so well that He knows exactly what to allow into our lives to accomplish His purposes. I know how arrogant I have been in the past. (Though this arrogance is so often a mask for crippling insecurity). Now, as I live with this exhaustion (physical, mental and emotional), there is no room for arrogance. I can’t exalt myself when I know just how small and weak I am.

I think that this passage shows us how God saves us from ourselves. If I weren’t sick and sad, I would keep going, blustering my way through life, set on my own plan and path. I don’t have the energy for that anymore. I don’t even have the desire. I want only to curl up in the lap of my loving Father and let Him soothe my wounds.

He does, in His own way and His own time. I have no doubt that He works on the delicate pieces of my broken heart, knitting them together so that I can love as He loves. I am learning to be content to wait in this position until I am released to do otherwise.

Now, instead of wanting Paul to shut up, I say, “Thank you, Lord.”

My journey to faith. (15)

 For all the posts in the What Depression Means to Me series, go here.

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3 thoughts on “What Depression Means to Me: Shut Up, Paul

  1. Marie, I know without a doubt if I had not been through what I have been through, I would not know God like I do. Not that I recommend that path.

    Like you, had I been well, I would have been running around like every other chicken with their heads cut off doing that which God never ordained for me to do. In that respect, my suffering has taught me more than any classroom I have ever been in.

    Today, I received the news that my friend, my doctor’s son had died over the weekend. Suffering with a brain tumor since June 2010, this 30 year old was the light of her life.

    I knew it was coming, but when my husband informed me, sadness just enveloped me. It was difficult to think of how bad off I have it at times. when you hear something like this. My daughter is 23, and I can’t imagine losing her while I am alive.

    In perspective, I could no longer smile today knowing my friend’s heart is broken. But like me and you, she knows the God of broken hearts and I pray he will heal hers. And life goes on for those of us who are still living….

    Like

  2. Hey Kiddo! Ya done Good again!

    God basically gives humanity two choices:

    1. We run our lives; we ARE IN CHARGE!

    2. God is PERMITTED by US to run our lifes. And God remains IN CHARGE!

    Biblically speaking we see this articulated in Deut.30: 19 “I [God] call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,”

    Everyting that happens to us is influenced [not necessarily CAUSED], by God. Still it is either Caused by God or permitted by God always and everytime for the same two possible reasons.

    1. God’s Glory
    2. Our POSSIBLE [if we make the correct choice] spiritual betterment.

    Take Up your Cross and Follow Me

    Phil.2: 8 “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross Luke.9 :23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Mark.8: 34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Luke.9: 23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke.14: 7 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

    1Pet.5: 1, 9 “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.”

    1Pet.4: 13 ” But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

    Phil.1: 29 “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, “

    2Thes.1: 5 “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering “

    Heb. 2: 10 “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering”

    In light of the above, it seems prudent when afflicted and asking God for HELP, that it be in the form of “Please Lord Give me the strength to endure this cross. Thy Will, NOY my will be done.”

    May God continue to hold you in this very special embrace my friend.

    Love and prayers,
    Pat.

    Like

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