You just came from the court house handcuffed. The judge has passed sentence on you; you were declared guilty of a crime by twelve of your peers, called a jury. You still have on your free-world clothes. You are placed in a cell that hold six inmates who are a frustrated as you are. The county jail is overcrowded; there is no bed open for you. You have slept three days in your Sunday best suit; on the floor. Reality is setting in; you are facing being locked up for a long, long time.
Your life as you once knew it is changing rapidly. Many of your friends now are looking at you differently; now you are a convicted criminal, a ward of the state’s correction department. You have lost your reputation, your so-called friends, your livelihood, maybe your family, etc. Really you have lost all that you had, except your person. You’ve never been to prison; you’re not sure what is coming in your future. You are in self-justification; wondering where is God; why would God let this happen; etc. You are now at a crossroads in your life. Many questions arise in your spirit, such as: Is this the end of the journey? Do I have any hope? Why live any longer? The questions are endless in the quicksand of depression.
There are several factors that will affect a person, as described above, as to the depth of his depression; factors such as his age, the amount of his loss, whether he has family support or not, the number of lies his legal team has given him concerning his prospect of deliverance through the appeal process, and whether or not he is a child of God.
I speak to all, but especially to the child of God. For those who know not God as Savior, as long as there is breath there is hope of deliverance. For the saved man, notice the following recipe to know where to go from here:
- Confess your sins. (1 John 1:8-10, especially verse 9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (Come away from self-justification and come to forgiveness of others that hate you and have lied on you.)
- Claim the Promises of God. (Hebrews 13:5b) “…be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Also see Psalms 121:1-6.)
- Confirm the Power of God. (Philippians 4:13) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
- Consider the Appointments of God. (Job 23:13-14) “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. (14) For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.” (Read Proverbs 19:21.)
- Count the Cost of Discipleship. (Luke 14:26-33, especially verse 28) “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”
- Consecrate your body, soul, and spirit to God to be His servant, to be holy and separate from sin. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
- Carry out the Purpose of God in your valley. (Knowing Romans 8:28) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
- Concentrate on the Present and the Future. (Not looking back; the past cannot be changed, but it can shape your future for the good.) (Philippians 3:13) “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”
Without these things being active in your life, there will be no Joy, no Peace, and no Power in your daily life to overcome the enemy on every front; whether it be depression, or a test of any kind. You will have no direction, no road map, no goal; and consequently self will be on the throne, and defeat is in your path.
You cannot, as a saved man, exist in a vacuum of self alone. God did not save you for self and defeat. But God saved you because He loved you and He has a purpose for you to fulfil in His Kingdom’s work.
But you say, “Why this way, God? Why this chastisement for me? Why this Valley of Baca (or tears)? Why the Potter’s House? Why forty years in the desert? Why? Why? Why, God?”
Read Deuteronomy 8:1-8; Jeremiah 18:1-4; Exodus 3:1-14; Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4; and a multitude more verses of Scripture in the Bible that will answer your question. For here, you are tested, tried, and proven; here you are purged and refined. Here you are revealed the Face of God and God’s purpose for you; as was Moses at the Burning Bush. Here the Potter changes the marred vessel and remakes you fit to serve Him and to receive His Glory.
The truth of the matter is, God is going to deal with our old flesh, our rebellion, our unbelief; to cause us to look to Him for our sufficiency, and to come away from the lusts of this world. The child of God has been called to Holiness and Service. You cannot live in the past and say, “If this had happened,” or “if I had done this,” or “if I had said this,” or “if I had not said that.” Plus you cannot live in self-justification. You must let the past go and look to God’s Purpose for you in your trial; and ultimately you must humbly bow before a Sovereign God and say:
“God, I don’t understand it all; wherein I have failed you, forgive me; wherein you can use me, here am I, send me. God, I want you to be glorified in me as I surrender my all to you; as I submit to Your Word and to this appointment; and as I obey Your Commandments until the end. ‘Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips’ (Psalms 141:3). May I not murmur or complain, but instead praise Your Holy Name that You are fitting me for Your Honor and Glory and my good. Amen.”