The other day I was listening to the news and as they went from natural disasters, to abductions, to shootings, to hostage situations, to the still bad economy, to murder, to another cause of cancer, to another public servant abusing their office, to wars, to…are you getting depressed yet? I know I am. And that’s how I felt, and that’s how a lot of people feel. Just do a quick search on the internet and you will see that there is a rise in people feeling sad, down and depressed. From little kids, to students, to young adults, to older adults, to married people, to singles, to seniors…depression is on the rise. I mean all the bad news combined with stress, loneliness, relationship struggles, financial issues, debt, divorce, illness and we have the perfect storm for dark days and depression. Is there any hope? Is there any help? Can we ever climb out of this? Is there any way we can bring a little light in our lives? The answer is yes… and it comes in a very interesting and unconventional way.
This help is found all over the Bible and specifically in one passage in the Old Testament, where Israel had been experiencing the ups and downs of life as well as the benefits of following God and the not-so-great consequences of not following God’s way of life. They were struggling with life, feeling down, maybe even depressed. The help I am talking about is found in:
Isaiah 58:10-11 10 And if you give yourself to the hungry, And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness, And your gloom will become like midday. 11 “And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
The help is in the selfless acts of helping those in need. I saw it happen to one person as they were experiencing a dark time as a result of a tragic event in their family. They had slipped into a bout of “why me” and life was being tainted by a negative cloud of frustration. Yet as they were in church God spoke, (not in an audible voice, but by putting a thought in their mind) to help a person who was in need. As they went through the process to help, an indescribable joy came over them that pushed away the gloom and reenergized them.
I also saw this opportunity of happiness in another family that though they were not depressed or all that down they were discouraged in their life, not sensing closeness to God or any real unique call of purpose. They were just existing and succumbing to the negative spin of life in this sin-sick world. Well, they had been praying and low and behold they heard of another family in need. They determined to sacrifice the expense of money and time and meet the need. It was not an easy process, and it was a little more then they had bargained for. Yet, the joy and new vitality of life as a result of helping this other family was priceless. This act of mercy was like a cool drink on a hot day giving them great joy and they even said “I have never been so happy”.
Just this past week I was down at the beach for a day off. I had been stressed from the big push since before Easter, the recent vote on our church’s constitution, weddings, and the normal stresses of life as a pastor. I was just wanting some quiet time to read and relax…when along came an elderly man who was walking his bike. He passed my car (I was sitting in the back of my Tahoe enjoying a book) and then he came back again. He apologized for the interruption but asked if I could drive him home. He had gotten a flat and could not get a hold of his wife. I put my book down and without much thought said, “Sure”. We had a nice talk on the way to his house and found out he was a Believer and before I left him he prayed for me. And you know… the stress was gone. I felt incredibly rejuvenated. Just that simple act of kindness satisfied both his and my need.
So here is a challenge for you, why not stop, look, and respond to some needs God brings to you or causes you to notice. It can bring a sense of joy and happiness to others and to you.
Now sure if you are struggling with a long time depression or this pit of gloom seems like one you just can’t get out of, please get help. Call the church 714-952-3001 or your church, or visit a Christian Counselor or trained lay-counselors (we have both available at Cypress Church). Ask around to find a trusted professional who can help. You can still try this option but it is not a replacement for needed therapy.
There is an amazing joy and happiness in helping people. We were designed for this. Why not give it a try? If you do, I would love to celebrate with you. So drop me an email and let me know what happened. There is enough darkness and negative in our world, you could be a bright light in someone’s life today and even light up your own life. Let’s see if we can make some happiness.
Seeking to Help Others with you,