Saturday, March 7, 2020

Depression…Or Not - Martin Wiles

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5 NLT
The question shocked me … and caused me to ponder an answer before giving one.
Middle Schoolers are known for their questions. As a teacher, I answer numerous questions every day—some relevant, others designed to get me off subject. But this question came during study hall, a time when the only two questions are normally, “Can I go to the library?” or, “Can I go to my locker?”
The young lady raised her hand and asked if she could ask me a question. Then she paused and said she needed to determine how to ask it. I expected something silly ... but got something serious.
“Which would you rather have: one week of depression followed by many happy experiences or many happy experiences with no depression, ever?”
I wondered if a teacher had asked them this question, and she needed help answering it. Or, had she read it in one of her devotional books … or had a youth minister ask her.  
I initially said, “I don’t know,” but then rethought my answer. I finally said, “If we never experience anything bad, how will we know what good is—or how will the good be better if we have nothing to compare it with?”
She seemed satisfied. I suppose I passed her test … and maybe gave her one explanation why evil and sorrow are present in our world. The psalmist was familiar with depression and sorrow, but he also knew it would not last. Joy would come in the morning—maybe not the next one, but one of them.
Times of sorrow, as unpleasant as they may be, help us appreciate the good times—making them better. When we experience sorrow and depression, we have something to compare the pleasant times to. This helps me make better choices so that I don’t unnecessarily bring sorry or depression on by making poor decisions.
Sorrowful times also remind me I serve a good God. He doesn’t author the sorrow or depression—unless perhaps as a form of discipline—but He does bring the joy. Joy that comes from leaning on Him. Joy that arrives when I remember He’s in control and loves me. Joy that comes because I know He is teaching valuable life lessons I can share with others.
Don’t detest times of sorrow; rather, let God steer you to the even greater joy that will follow.
Prayer: Father, cause us to lean on You when sorrow comes, knowing You will bring a greater joy when the sorrow passes.

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