Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Life under the cloud

This site has been a place for my thoughts, devotions and personal journaling for almost 10 years.  I find this discipline helpful to me and I hope it helps others as well.  It's not my goal to bare my soul here, but to share what God is doing with me and what I know he will do in any life.  

There are times that all of us live under a cloud of depression for a time.  When we find ourselves under the cloud we all sense that our lives are a waste, much too difficult, that "God is playing a cruel joke on us" as one friend wrote to me yesterday, but in those days when the gloom settles over us we need the Lord and his presence more than ever.  

In my own life I've been "under the cloud" of depression for quite a while.  It's shown in my lack of presence here.  Who wants to read the ramblings of a depressed old man as he works through his thoughts and struggles, but there are days when that voice needs to be heard.  

Depression does feel like a dark cloud keeping the sun away, but it also brings rain, shade and new life. In the moments and days when depression comes we fail to see the shade, enjoy the rain and celebrate the life, but they are all part of the cloud. 

For Israel in the desert the cloud gave them shade and I'm sure it gave rain as well.  What seems a sign of depression to us is most often really a wonderful provision of God.  He's not punishing us when depression comes, he's not withholding his presence...quite the contrary...he's more present in those moments than we could ever know. 

But the cloud over us seems to only bring darkness, depression and doubt of whether God really cares for us at all.  And yet, the cloud is the evidence of his care more than anything else we could experience.  It's a sign of his provision, his presence when all seems lost and we see no  hope.

My favorite depressed person in the bible is David.  He, like Elijah, struggled with depression in significant ways, but they dealt with it quite differently.  

Elijah quit.  

But David sought God.  And in his seeking we find words like this,

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 43

David looked up, he sought God, he hoped in the only one who could lift his cloud.  In the passage above did you notice that when we are in despair, when we are depressed, we don't praise God?  David wrote, "I shall again praise Him" meaning that in that moment he wasn't.  He didn't "use" praise as a way out, but instead he thought through the truth that depression isn't forever and when the cloud passes he would once more praise God. 

Life under the cloud is difficult.  Just ask anyone who lives in Seattle, but with the cloud comes the reality that God is with you.  He never leaves and soon, sooner than you know, the cloud will lift and you will praise him again.  While you're under the cloud rest in Him, enjoy the cool of the shade, celebrate the rain and know that joy will come again.

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