Note: This is part two of a mini series of blogs. If you missed part one, you can find that post here.
I have to be completely honest with you. I have hesitated to continue this series. I have hesitated for two reasons. One of those reasons it that I have no desire to consider where my life would be if I was not in the Lord’s church. The other reason, is because I have many people that I care about in my life who are not in the Lord’s church. However, rather than letting these be the reasons I do not continue this post, I am allowing them to be the very reason that I do.
If I were not in the Lord’s church I would battle depression constantly. Allow me to be clear, I am in no way making light of clinical depression that many of my friends have, and can be a very serious issue. I am talking about the kind of depression that we all face from time to time due to illness, financial stress, loss of job, loss of loved one, bad grades on a final, natural disasters, and any other “normal” thing you would like to add to that list. Before you write me off in your mind as someone who has lived a sheltered life let me assure you I have experienced everything listed above on a personal level as well as some others. I am serious when I say I would have serious depression issues if it were not for the Lord’s church.
Romans 1:12 talks about the mutual encouragement that comes from being around those of the same faith. Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Hebrews 10:24 encourages us to “consider how to” stir one another up for love and good works. These passages and many others like them I have seen take effect in my life. No, I’m not bragging on myself and saying I have done all of these things well.
What I am saying is that I have been to a worship service right after losing a job. I was depressed, wasn’t sure how I was going to pay the bills. I entered the service depressed. While I was in the middle of our singing, I stopped, closed my eyes, and listened to Christians all around me that I knew were going through tough times, yet they were pouring their hearts out to God. It gave me strength. It reminded me, the world in fact, was not ending. I have been made stronger by others around me. Strength that I never would have found had it not been for the church.
While preparing funeral services for individuals who have not been faithful to God, I have looked at the faces of many men and women who are devastated. Not just because their loved one is gone. Devastated because they know that their loved one has not lived the way that they should. They are desperately trying to find some shred of hope. A person without hope, is a hard sight to see. However, the opposite is true as well. People who are living their lives the way that they know they ought, have peace that this world cannot understand (Phil 4:7). If I was not part of the church, there is no doubt in my mind that I would be continually depressed.
There will be one more post on this subject in a couple of days. I pray that this has been beneficial to you. If you are in the church, maybe you can identify with these things. Maybe even add some thoughts of your own in the comments section? Maybe someone reading this has left the church, or has never been part of it. If you are in this category of people and you are feeling the void of the church, please work to fill that void. Contact me if I can help.