Well, mine is falling apart. For a while now my main reading and preaching Bible (a leatherbound NLT) has been absolutely falling apart.
Sometimes the pages flutter to the floor when I'm preaching. From I Corinthians to Revelation, it just consists of loose papers that fall out anytime I open it. It's sort of a pain to deal with but it's the Bible I like to read most or minister with and just haven't gotten around to replacing it.
it's falling apart but I feel like I am too.
I'm a lover of the Word...love to read it, love to teach it, and try to live it. But even so, sometimes, like now...I feel like a wreck.
Does anyone else who is also actually in God's word feel that way? I've decided to dare to find out. Because I feel so alone.
I'm not a wreck because of sin or a moral failure. In a twisted way, I wish it were that easy. Sometimes I find myself in such a vexatious state of despair I think, "If it were a sin or moral lapse, it would be easier to fix! I'd just "ask, believe, confess"! I'd do the Christian ABC's and I'd be done with this. I'd "admit it, quit it and forget it!" Confession and repentance seem like a piece of cake compared to depression. Most people who have problems and come to me for help aren't reading their Bibles or praying. What an easy fix! I just say, "get into the Word and prayer." They do, in the majority of cases, things get better. Because anybody who is not in the Word or prayer is going to have issues. And when you fix that everything improves.
But honestly, there are times my head is into the Word, but I'm still feeling hopeless. I put the Word in but it leaks out so fast. There are times I get up to minister and I think, "what in the world do I have to give these people?" Well, that's a stupid statement to make while I'm holding a Bible...of course I have the good news of the gospel to share with them. But what I mean is, even though I have prayed and sought the Lord more than ever, I am still struggling. I think of all the times I've told people, "just praise your way to a miracle!" I believe that, and it's worked for me many times. I still believe that. Right now though, I just feel flat.
Here's what I am finding as I study this. There have been a lot of passionate God followers who were history makers that were a wreck at times. People throughout scripture such as David, Moses, Jeremiah, Elijah, and Ezekiel, were wrecks, just to name a very few. I've been especially drawn to Ezekiel in the past, and now today I find myself looking at his story again . His wife died and he was not allowed to mourn her loss. He had to shave his head, and lay on his side for an entire year. Then when he was done and thought that craziness was over, he had to do it for 40 more days. His food and water intake were greatly restricted and God made him cook what food he was allowed to eat over a pile of human poop. I'm serious. It's in Ezekiel 4 & 5. One of Weight Watcher's slogan's is, "Diets are Mean!" I need to tell them they don't know what a mean diet is until they've read Ezekiel. Being limited to 20 points a day is NOTHING, compared to the insane stuff the man had to deal with.
Nothing that was asked of Ezekiel seemed to be too hard and he plodded on...until the poop thing. He was so upset about the human poop that when he petitioned God, He relented and said, "okay, you can cook it over cow poop. Wow, what a consolation. Ezekiel trembled and shuddered while he ate in awful pain. I would too if I had just cooked my food over poop. I really believe Ezekiel should have been mad at Job for stealing all the attention! In studying the book of Ezekiel, I am finding the theme to be that it's not so much about our circumstances getting better as it is about God making us better as people. It's about God doing something in me internally even when externally my situation seems hopeless.
Honestly if you look at Ezekiel's situation, it didn't get better, at least until chapter 37, and let's be real...that took forever. And the kicker is that God told him in the beginning that the people were not going to straighten out and listen, but that he would still be held accountable for preaching to them! What the heck??! Why does God do that? It's still happening today. God purposely sends ministers to people all the time that He knows in advance won't listen! Could it be that He sends His messenger for their sake rather than for the sake of others? Ezekiel obeyed and was faithful to this call. People said he was out of his mind. Honestly, anybody who is abandoned to God and His will and fully obeys Him will be considered crazy at times, I'm convinced of that.
I could go on forever about Godly people who were wrecks at times in the Bible. For some reason everybody has accepted that there were wrecks in the Bible but nobody today wants to admit that they are a wreck. You fear people figuring it out. What if they don't respect you? They might not want you to pastor them. People might not invite you to speak to them anymore. At the very least they might think you are unspiritual. Why can't you just plead the blood and snap out of it? This is the fear you have when you are a a wreck. What if somebody realizes I really don't have all the answers, and am only sure of a very few things in life?
"Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me..."
I sometimes sing, "that saved a wreck like me." Only some days I wonder, "if I'm saved, why do I still feel like this?
Could it be that a lot of spiritual people who love Jesus, read His Word, and pray are wrecks at times but we just don't know it? Could that be why it's hard to believe this phenomenon exists?
I have "submitted myself therefore to God, and resisted the devil so He will flee..."
I have "cast down every imagination and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God..."
And yes, I have "called the things that are not as though they were."
I have bound...I have loosed...I have spoken to it...I have stood on it...
I lay in bed with the light streaming in my windows, not wanting to get up, surrounded by the feeling of darkness and say...
"you do not feel sucky..
in Jesus name, you do not, you do not, you do not, feel sucky..."
I have named it and claimed it.
I have blabbed it and grabbed it.
And still I feel sucky.
A few people have quoted, "this too shall pass" to me. My husband says that all the time. And I know it's straight out of the Bible. But frankly one of my secret fears has been that it won't pass. As much as I try to quell that fear it pops back up again after I have beaten it into submission and taken it captive.
Here's some interesting things I've found in my quest the past few weeks to study wrecks :
The famous reformer and preacher, Martin Luther, who wrote the song, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God", was a wreck at times. His biographer writes that he was "prone to recurrent periods of depression" and that Luther himself wrote, "The content of my depression was always the same -- the loss of faith that God is good and that he is good to me." During one of his severe period of depression, he wrote this: "for more than a week I was close to the gates of death and hell. I trembled in all my members. Christ was wholly lost."
Charles Spurgeon struggled so severely with depression that he had to take a break and step down from his pulpit for two to three months out of every year. In 1866 he had the courage to confess his struggle to his congregation. He said, "I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I go through." He described the period of depression as "every mental and spiritual labor had to be carried on under protest of spirit." Sounds like these guys had some sucky days.
They changed the world as we know it.
There's hope for me.