Making disciples is neither easy nor painless. Yes, it has its ups – and they are glorious and invigorating and exciting – but there are also deep, dark, hope-sucking valleys. These are a real components of our attempts to faithfully imitate Him. The good news? His presence, His grace are also real.
I feel depressed. And angry. And disappointed. People have wronged me and I have failed them. Oh, and yes, I have betrayed Him, the Triune God of Scripture and History. For some, being depressed means a lack of interest in life, but in my case my depression translates into this feeling of nausea, this constant brain fog, and total lack of energy. And feeling blue, all the time. Now, I am very good at pretending I’m not facing this problem. I can be active, talkative, interested in others. I can thank years of dysfunctional family life, back when I was a young boy down in Mexico, for this useful ability. But it is when I am alone, it is when I’m the only one there, when not interacting with someone else that my condition is clear the most, to me. I am depressed, I have all these things to do, I am responsible for the well-being of all this people, I have to perform and deliver. It’s painful. The nausea does not go away.
Neither does His grace and presence.
Because of His mercy, because of His Beauty I know I am not alone. I know this battle is not over. I know He will pull me through. Not in a populist way, not in a like-in-the-movies kind of way, but in a real, slow, tangible, evident, painful way.
It’s fascinating to me how when the darkness is the deepest, when then pain is the more intolerable then the simplest means of His grace are the most comforting.
Prayer and His written word.
No ultra cool curriculum. Not trendy book. Not amazing new perspective from a super-famous author with an edgy phraseology.
Prayer and reading the Bible, that’s where it is.
Of course, there is also the need for time. Time must be factored into the equation. It takes time to read, meditate, pray. It’s not a quick fix. It’s not a magic pill you just take and move on. In prayer and reading you are in contact with the Triune God of Scripture and History. In contact. For real. This audience with the King is not for His information but for your healing. It’s a moment to be cherished, to be delighted on, to be tasted with every fiber of your being.
Consider the implications of these simple means of God’s grace toward you. Keep in mind the ramifications of the fact that the Owner, Creator, and Sustainer of e-vry-thing has granted you – yes, you – an uninterrupted audience to state your case, something He does not need to hear from you since He has ordained it and, therefore, He knows it perfectly.
He loves you.
Enjoy your time with Him.
How are you doing?
Remember His grace, Follow Him in humility, Cultivate constantly, All in cultural diversity.