Depression and Spurgeon

My guest blogger today is my dear friend Pastor Bruce Roeder. Bruce and I were ministry partners together in Wisconsin for a number of years.  Bruce is Associate Pastor at Missio Dei Fellowship,in Kenosha Wisconsin. He has been married to the same wonderful gal for over 38 years. They have one married son and terrific daughter-in-law. He loves being a grand-pa to Ian and Elyse! 

This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. (Lamentations 3:21 NASB)

On a whim, I opened Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. It's not a regular part of my routine but for some reason I went to it. The verse the devotion was based on is as above. It is from Lamentations, a book of the Bible I rarely go to..

I know that Spurgeon suffered from depression so it was not hard to see that this verse gave him hope since the Book of Lamentations is a bit depressing, especially if you feel like Jeremiah.

The thrust of the devotion arising from Lamentations 3:21 is you have a choice as to what to remember.

Note the context:

Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers
And is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope. The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I have hope in Him." The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the LORD. (Lamentations 3:19-26 NASB)

The prophet does not deny his feelings of affliction, loneliness, wormwood and bitterness. He feels bowed down. This is real emotion expressed by a real person. There is no denying how he feels nor is he trying to put a happy face on his emotions. But rather than brood, like we tend to do the prophet does something surprising.

He makes a choice as to what to remember. He remembers the Lord's loving kindness, compassion, mercy and faithfulness. The Lord is his portion declares the prophet as he recognizes he has a choice to brood upon trials or seek the Lord in those trials.

The prophet's mood is therefore dependent upon that which he chooses to remember.

This is excellent counsel for us. Few of us live a life like Jeremiah was called to, yet, we do have trials and sufferings that differ only by portion. If the prophet whose portion was indeed heavy could make a choice as to what to dwell upon then so can we.

The Lord's mercies are new every morning. Let us be encouraged by remembering the gospel when we tend to brood.

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