One of Robin William’s last films, the Angriest Man in Brooklyn, is about a man battling his personal demons.  He has a brain aneurysm that is already leaking into his brain stem.  The doctor gives him 90 minutes to live.  The film is about his attempt to find reconciliation with all those whom he has hurt.  What we find out along the way is that his eldest son had died 2 years prior and it changed his life.  He went from a person who was happy to a person who was angry with life in general.  Believe it or not, this man suffered from depression.  While we usually think of depression being the sad, lonely reserved type.  Depression can also rear its ugly head through anger.  This man’s anger stemmed from his inability to handle the tragedy that stuck his life when his son died.   As hopelessness grew in him, so did bitterness.  It reached a self destructive end when he learned that he couldn’t even tell his one remaining son that he loved him without going into a tirade. In last week’s bulletin, I mentioned that I wanted to share with you some steps you can take to dealing with the tragedy or emotional roller coaster or hope draining moments in your life.  This is not to say that life’s problems will go away.  They won’t.  There is no cookie cutter approach to dealing with life.  There are no easy answers.  Life is hard.  It is cruel.  And from time to time it breaks us down to our very core.  But, that doesn’t mean he throw in the towel.  We have to learn how to dust ourselves off and get back into the fight.  So, how do we do that?
You begin preparing for tragedy before tragedy strikes.  Last week I stated that faith was not the answer to finding happiness.  And it isn’t.  However, faith is what enables us to tackle hard issues in life.  I Cor. 10:13 states that God will not permit you to be tempted beyond what you are able.  He will provide a way of escape.  Faith is what will enable you to trust God’s escape route.  I don’t deny that sometimes those escape routes are hard perhaps even terrifying.  However, we have to trust him.  Psa. 23 states that with God as my shepherd I can walk though the valley of the shadow of death.  That valley is the most frightening valley anyone can walk.  But we don’t have to be afraid because the Lord is with us.  Let him lead you.  Consider Job.  Job was able to withstand the slings and fiery arrows of the wicked one because he trusted in God.  “Though he slay me, I will trust in Him (Job 13:15).”
Next, I encourage you to worship God.  Glorify Him.  When Job experienced the worst day of his life do you know what he did?  He fell to his knees and said, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21).”  I know that when we are having a bad day, a bad week, month or year the last thing we want to do is worship God.  We certainly don’t want to be around other people to worship God.  But, Job was not in a church building when he worshipped God.  He was in his home.  And more importantly it was spontaneous.  In the midst of great tragedy he felt compelled to glorify God.  In the movie Facing Giants, the main character went through an over abundance of difficulties.  One of which was the inability to have children.  At one point his wife breaks down, after being told yet again she was not pregnant, that she would still love God… even if it meant that she would never have children.  This is what I mean by worshipping God.  When you are battling that hopelessness, when your life is getting you down, the best thing you can do is glorify God.  Praise your Creator.  Glorify your Redeemer.
Next, you need to forgive.  I know.  Not all of your tragedies are caused by someone else.  But, most of our hardships are caused by someone.  In these instances you need to forgive the one that wronged you.  By holding on to the resentment over that person we are continuing to give them power over our lives.  Years ago I was reading a book written by a man who was the victim of a sexual predator.  It was not a stranger that hurt him, but someone whom he trusted; someone whom his parents trusted. In this book the author spoke of why predators do what they do.  It is all about power.  Whether against children, woman, or even in the case of murder, abuse, etc it is all about power.  They lord their position over you.  Every day we fail to forgive them, we continue to permit them to hold that power over us.  Now, I am not saying that God has forgiven them.  What I am saying is that for the good of your heart and for the good of your soul you need to forgive them.  Don’t let their wrongs against you over power you anymore.  Consider what Jesus said, you can only have one master.  Until you harness the healing power of forgiveness, your “grudge” against said person will always be your master.            -WTK

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Depression is No Laughing Matter part 3

The Light
Volume 5 Issue 38