• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • April 2008
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Oprah’s New Age Church

When The Heart Is Sick

DI was surprised on one occasion, many years ago, as I listened to a colleague at work describe me as having a melancholy personality. Some people have also told me I am too serious (perhaps that is just a nice way to say “melancholy”). There are times in my life, however, when I have struggled with bouts of depression. Have you ever been depressed?

Most people on some occasion in their lives must deal with depression even if it is only on an occasional basis. Other than occasional and infrequent moodiness, depression may be caused by problems with your health. There is also a kind of spiritual depression that afflicts many people. I will simply recommend that you go to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ masterful work on Spiritual Depression if you suspect that may be a problem for you. Charles Spurgeon suffered from long trials of recurring depression which I suspect were a combination of those factors.

Many episodes of depression in a person’s life, however, I believe are caused by the absence of hope. Things simply don’t turn out the way we expected them to and we feel trapped by the consequences. Solomon said, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12) I think having a “sick heart” is a reasonable description of depression. Proverbs teaches us that it is caused by “hope deferred.”

The Psalmist gives a good description of depression when he asks the question: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” (Psalm 42:5) He then answers his own question in the same verse: “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation.” Could misplaced hope cause depression?

The important question may be, “In who, on what, or where have you placed your hope?” The prophet Isaiah declares, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” (40:30-31) Isaiah tells us that placing our hope in the Lord is the right answer. Puritan Pastor William Gurnall observed, “Hope fills the afflicted soul with such inward joy and consolation, that it can laugh while tears are in the eye, sigh and sing all in a breath; it is called ‘the rejoicing of hope.’” This is the hope we find when we place all our hope in Jesus Christ. This is the only hope that heals the sick heart and lifts up the cast down soul.







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