Feb 27, 2007

A hymn a day keeps satan away....? Day 2

This past January, I felt the lowest of low. I lost interest in my favorite things, I was wishing I could end my life, and more seriously, I lost my hope in Christ. The difficult thing is when you know the Truth, and yet, even so, you don't believe that Truth. I didn't believe that Christ could take away my sins or wash away my guilt. I didn't believe He was sanctifying me. I lost my hope in Him; I lost my focus of the cross.

Praise God that my depression has lifted considerably. I'm feeling much more hopeful and have not entertained those sinful thoughts. But there are many, many lessons I learned from my depression. And I know God used that time for the benefit of my sanctification. After all, when we are in the lowest valleys, the power of Christ is seen even more clearly! Remember what the LORD told Paul about his thorn, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." And Paul rejoices, saying, "I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

This depression brought a fruitful of opportunities to cling closer to Christ, as it did in the life of William Cowper. William Cowper is the famous hymn writer of such wonderful hymns such as, "There is a fountain filled with blood" and "God moves in a mysterious way." Cowper spent most of his life suffering from depression. He tried to kill himself a number of times. Never once did he succeed:

"As the time drew nigh, his agony became more and more in­tense; he hoped and be­lieved that mad­ness would come to relieve him; he attempted also to make up his mind to commit su­i­cide, though his conscience bore stern testimony against it; he could not by any argument per­suade himself that it was right, but this des­per­a­tion pre­vailed, and he pro­cured from an apothecary the means of self-destruction. On the day before his public appearance was to be made, he happened to notice a letter in the newspaper, which to his dis­or­dered mind seemed like a ma­lig­nant li­bel on himself. He im­med­i­ate­ly threw down the pa­per and rushed into the fields, de­ter­mined to die in a ditch, but the thought struck him that he might es­cape from the count­ry. With the same vi­o­lence he pro­ceed­ed to make hasty prep­ar­a­tions for his flight; but while he was en­gaged in pack­ing his port­man­teau his mind changed, and he threw him­self into a coach, or­der­ing the man to drive to the Tower wharf, in­tend­ing to throw him­self in­to the ri­ver, and not re­flect­ing that it would be im­poss­i­ble to ac­comp­lish his pur­pose in that pub­lic spot. On ap­proach­ing the wa­ter, he found a por­ter seated upon some goods: he then re­turned to the coach and was con­veyed to his lodg­ings at the Temple
. On the way he at­tempt­ed to drink the laud­a­num, but as oft­en as he raised it, a con­vuls­ive agi­ta­tion of his frame pre­vent­ed it from reach­ing his lips; and thus, re­gret­ting the loss of the op­por­tun­i­ty, but un­a­ble to avail him­self of it, he ar­rived, half dead with an­guish, at his apart­ment. He then shut the doors and threw him­self upon the bed with the laud­a­num near him, try­ing to lash himself up to the deed; but a voice within seemed con­stant­ly to for­bid it, and as of­ten as he ex­tend­ed his hand to the poi­son, his fing­ers were con­tract­ed and held back by spasms.

At this time one of the in­mates of the place came in, but he con­cealed his ag­i­ta­tion, and as soon as he was left alone, a change came over him, and so de­test­a­ble did the deed ap­pear, that he threw away the laud­a­num and dashed the vial to pieces. The rest of the day was spent in heavy insensibility, and at night he slept as usual; but on waking at three in the morning, he took his penknife and lay with his weight upon it, the point toward his heart. It was brok­en and would not pen­e­trate. At day break he arose, and pas­sing a strong gar­ter around his neck, fast­ened it to the frame of his bed: this gave way with his weight, but on securing it to the door, he was more successful, and remained suspended till he had lost all consciousness of existence. After a time the garter broke and he fell to the floor, so that his life was saved.; but the conflict had been greater than his reason could endure. He felt for himself a contempt not to be expressed or imagined; whenever he went into the street, it seemed as if every eye flashed upon him with indignation and scorn; he felt as if he had offended God so deep­ly that his guilt could ne­ver be for­giv­en, and his whole heart was filled with tu­mult­u­ous pangs of despair. Mad­ness was not far off, or rather mad­ness was al­ready come."

It was after these incidents that Cowper wrote my most favorite hymn, "There is a fountain filled with blood:"

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God
be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God
be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

In the midst of depression, Cowper was able to see that Christ could remove his guilt; that Christ's death was sufficient to cleanse him from all of his sins.

I hope that for all of you that might be suffering from depression, that you can see God's Hand in your depression. Nothing in this world happens by chance. If the LORD permits you to have depression, than ask Him to show you what He's teaching you. Be patient, and wait for the LORD. He is sufficient. He is enough.


Nicotheconqueror said...

A swiss tanatologist has once said, -God does not give us more than we can bare to hold.-
The hymn was beautiful, may I dare to tell you that poems and scriptures are symbols, mankind has the power to interpretate them, God at the end will judge how you enacted this interpretations.
At the end when you´ll meet God I´m sure you are not going to be able to separate materially and idially yourself and him, judge and imputate you´ll agree in a benevolent compromise with no submission.But in the meanwhile relax, don´t be so strict and victorian with yourself.
Will is your only gentle weapon.

Samantha said...

I think your Swiss friend got that from the bible:
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.


I am naive and don't really understand what you are getting at. So I cannot respond to your comments. Nevertheless, thanks for commenting.

Nate said...

This is actually a serious note. When I lived in Minneapolis and Northern Minnesota, I became extremely effected by, what I will call "Light Depression". What that means is through scientific study, they have determined that the amount of light you receive can DRAMATICALLY effect your emotional state. The more light you receive, the happier you are, and the opposite with less light. Each year in December and January, when the days are very short, I would become very depressed, even though I was have great success, and everything was going well in my life. Please just remember this note in November and December and if you start feeling unhappy or even depressed, please seek professional help, as it is a real medical condition, and not something that I would wish on anyone year after year. Best Wishes.