Children of God – TRUST

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Today I am going to focus on trusting God. I have talked about this topic before, most likely because this is something that I personally struggle with. That being said, I am going to focus more on trying to have trust like a child, since this week I am focusing on having faith like a child, and each of the components that go along with that. In many different places in the Bible Christians are referred to as children of God, I believe that this is incredibly intentional (as is most things that can be found in the Bible), but even more so with this phrase. God could have said, that we are his people, which he does, but this is not what we are referred to as in every instance in the Bible. We are children of God, he loves us and cares for us, and calls us to have a child-like faith. Matthew 18:3 says, “ Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like the little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

In my classroom, I have about 8 kids every single day, and they rely on me to make sure that they get breakfast, lunch, and a snack. They rely on me to take them outside, or on a walk. Some of them are working on being potty-trained, so they rely on me to change their diapers. They rely on me to facilitate discussion between them and their friends about whose turn it is with the babydoll in the classroom. There is more than just this “reliance” though. These children simply trust that what I say is true, that what I am telling them is the right thing to do. They trust that the food I am giving to them is good for them and will fuel their bodies. They trust that I am going to braid their hair if they ask, give them hugs if they need them, or pick them up when they fall down. They trust that I am going to be excited about them trying something new, or climbing across the tires on the playground, but they also trust that when they fall and scrape their knee, I am going to comfort them and get them a bandaid. These children trust that I am going to meet their every need while they are at daycare with me. They do not expect that I am going to meet every want, but they do trust that I am going to take care of their every need.

Do we do that in our daily lives as Christians? Do you truly believe that God has your back and is going to provide for your every need? Do you trust that he hears your every want and every prayer? Because God tells us he hears us, and that he will make sure that our every need is met. He doesn’t promise us an easy life without any hiccups, but he does promise to meet our needs. We should be looking to the children in our lives that may rely on us, and trust us to take care of them, and see that example in them. That reliance and trust they have in us, is something that we need to try to emulate in our relationship with God.

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence”

Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

Matthew 6:28-34 “28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Today, I am going to challenge you to trust God. Trust him like a child would. Lean on him, rely on him and truly work on believing that what he says and what his word says is true. God comes through for us on our promises, and he makes sure that we have what we absolutely need. It may not always seem like that to us, but Jesus’ words in Matthew, tell us that God even clothes the flowers and the grass, and they do no work. If we believe in him, have faith in him, and trust him (like a child) would he not care for us at least as much as the grass of the field, if not more?

A song that I have for you today actually comes from Aaron Winner. “You Make The Flowers Grow” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE8xGez3AOY

~Jana Swanson

Listening Like a (Faithful) Child

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This week I am going to talk about what it means to have faith like a child. I am currently an assistant teacher in a YMCA child development center, for a toddler classroom. The children that I work with the most are around the ages of 2 and 3. Throughout my day as an assistant teacher, there are many different elements that go into the teaching and caring for my 2 and 3 year olds. They have to listen, share, trust, sometimes they need comfort and sometimes they cry just because they do not yet have the vocabulary to fully tell me what it is that they need.


Today’s topic is listening like a child, especially when we are listening for God. Some verses about listening are here:

Luke 11:28 “He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’”

James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Proverbs 16:20 “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.”

Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house upon the rock.”

Philippians 4:9 “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me -put it into practice and the God of peace will be with you.”


All of these verses are about listening, but many of these verses include the two parts that listening is made up of: hearing and doing. When I am speaking with my toddlers there are some things they need to do; hear what I am saying and do what I ask, even if they do not see or understand the reason. For example, when we walk the hallways in our center, on the way to different activities we ask our toddlers to hold onto the railing. This is an extra measure that keeps them safe, however some of them do not understand how or why it could be dangerous to them if they let go of the railing. God is the same way- there are things he teaches us through his word that will be harmful to us; we may not understand but we should listen to him anyway. There will be times in our own lives when God is going to be telling us something, asking us to hear and do, and we may not always understand the reason behind it.


Daily I am amazed by my toddlers, because most of the time when I ask them to hold their railing, or move their milk cup closer to the center of the table, or to walk in the classroom, they hear me and do what I see, even if I do not give them a reason. This is because I have a relationship with them, and they trust that I am doing what I can to protect them, care for them, teach them, and make sure they are safe. This is one way that faith like a child is important for us to recognize and practice in our own lives. Do you hear what God says to you, and do it without question? If not, maybe we should consider that call to listen, that call to have child-like faith. Today, I challenge you to try to listen for God and do what he asks you, without question and see what happens in your life.


Tomorrow I am going to talk more in-depth about the trust of a child, since that will follow today’s topic nicely. I also saw that Andrew Cheatwood, who wrote for last week included a song that he was impacted by each day, and this is something I have done in the past and have enjoyed, so I would like to continue the trend this week. The song that I have chosen for today is “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_aVFVveJNs


~Jana Swanson

Life Gets Better

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When You Break Down the Barriers

 

For the longest time, I never thought I would see the other side of my depression. Especially when I was in deepest. During that time, my girlfriend of 3 years dumped me, my pastor I’d grown up listening to and adored passed away, I was failing college, and I was in a job that made me so miserable the only way I felt better was writing lyrics about how I felt. It got so bad, I started thinking about how people in my life would feel if I’d never existed, or just faded away. Around that time though, those lyrics I had written finally came to have a purpose because God helped me find a band to join. It may have been a short lived adventure, but I cherish those days as the therapy it was for me. I bled out the unhealthy emotions that had begun to dwell within my heart through those lyrics until it wasn’t helping anymore.

 

In today’s devotional, we will conclude the book of Job. The story of Job is complex, beautiful, and I await to reread this book again to uncover more wisdom hidden within this book. We have reached Job 32, and are now meeting Elihu. I heavily encourage you take the time to read from Chapter 32 to the end, but I will hit the key verses that stuck out to me in understanding this story better. Elihu arrives to rebuke Job for his missteps in his arguments and intentions within the debate between Job and the three men of understanding. Elihu waited up until this point out of respect of age, and because the three friends had become discouraged in debating any further.

Elihu’s first acknowledgement of faultiness in Job’s mourning is shown in Job 33: 8-22.

Job 33: 8-22 NASB: “8 Surely you have spoken in my hearing, And I have heard the sound of your words: 9 ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent and there is no guilt in me. 10 ‘Behold, He invents pretexts against me; He counts me as His enemy. 11 ‘He puts my feet in the stocks; He watches all my paths.’ 12 “Behold, let me tell you, you are not right in this, For God is greater than man. 13 “Why do you complain against Him That He does not give an account of all His doings? 14 “Indeed God speaks once, Or twice, yet no one notices it. 15 “In a dream, a vision of the night, When sound sleep falls on men, While they slumber in their beds, 16 Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction, 17 That He may turn man aside from his conduct, And keep man from pride; 18 He keeps back his soul from the pit, And his life from passing over into Sheol. 19 “Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, And with unceasing complaint in his bones; 20 So that his life loathes bread, And his soul favorite food. 21 “His flesh wastes away from sight, And his bones which were not seen stick out. 22 “Then his soul draws near to the pit, And his life to those who bring death.”

Job may be a faithful follower of God, but he did make accusations that God was not on his side. Elihu points out these flaws on Job’s logic so Job may understand where he has faltered in his discussion. It is a great detail to point out because how often do we get paranoid, and start to wonder whether what God is planning is for our benefit? This is a common problem I ran into in my thought process while depressed.

If you aren’t convinced when reading through here that Elihu cares about Job, I have a couple verses to show his intent was for Job’s benefit. Job 33: 31-33 NASB: “Pay attention, O Job, listen to me; Then if you have anything to say, answer me; Speak for I desire to justify you. If not, listen to me; Keep silent, and I will teach you wisdom.” I didn’t notice his intentions as good to start out because all his other friends we read the speeches of are jaded and convinced Job is wicked. In further delving though, I found Elihu to be a great friend to Job. “Speak for I desire to justify you” is the phrase that opened my eyes once I looked into the Hebrew word justify originates from in this context. The Hebrew word is Tsadaq. In this context, it means “turn to righteousness.” Elihu cares deeply enough about Job to help him turn to righteousness.

 

Elihu next points out that Job’s pride has become a barrier between himself and God. This happens in Job 35. Job’s pride has caused him a lack of understanding towards man, especially ones he deems to be wicked. We see this iterated in Job 24. Elihu gives proof that God doesn’t ignore wrongs, and doesn’t just allow the wicked to roam free. You can find the evidence in Job 36: 5-33. An important detail we can take from this is to not generalize and judge our fellow man. We are to help them understand why we ask repentance of our sins. Sin separates us from YHWH, and YHWH doesn’t want to be separated from His creation.

 

In Job 37, Elihu concludes his speech by bringing the voice of God back into the attention of Job. Then, in Job 38-39, God asks Job if he knows all the grand, minute details that were put into this life. To make His point to Job, God then asks Job a question in Job 40:2 NASB: “‘Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let Him who reproves God answer it.’” Job’s passion and wisdom are clear throughout this book, but along the way, Job began to question God. Asking God a question and questioning God are different beasts. Job 40:4-5 NASB: “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to Thee? I lay my hand on my mouth. Once I have spoken, and I will not answer; Even twice, and I will add no more.” This is how Job responds after YHWH shows Job the error of his ways. God then further speaks of His power, asking Job if he too, can do all these things. Job confesses that he is incapable of doing these things, admitting he didn’t understand the gravity of his proclamations, and repented. God is even merciful enough to extend forgiveness to Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz, if they choose to repent of the words they spoke against The Lord.

 

After all of this was completed, God restored Job’s fortunes. Job lived a blessed life with many children, and got to see his grandchildren. Job got through a time of trial and tribulation that I cannot begin to fathom the pain he must have gone through. He did not make it through by his own doing, but God’s doing. Personally, my spiritual depression did not cease until I repented. I may not have started the depression outright, but I set up barriers between myself and God over time. It was through repentance that God helped me tear down those walls, and help me rebuild my life. My challenge for you today is to take some time to look inward, and find what barriers you may have built up between yourself and God. Repent of them, and start to see how your perspective on life begins to be built on love.

My song suggestion for today is “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSyLqbP8Z4I  

 

-Andrew Cheatwood

Perseverance through Tribulation

 

    Today, we return to the book of Job to further talk about depression. Job is being directly attacked by his own friends during a time frame when he is losing his health, his wife told him to curse God and die, his children have all died, and he has lost all his possessions he had. These are all things on their own that could cause depression within someone. Normally, these situations would cause problems internally, and someone who is depressed would tend to keep them to themselves. Job is blessed with wisdom though, and talks to his friends about his troubles. Instead of his friends trying to help him through it, they attack him on the grounds that they believe he clearly is wicked. The perseverance Job shows throughout the whole book is a testament of his faith in God.

That perseverance is one we should strive for on a day to day basis, whether going through trials and tribulation, or through times of blessing. There are times when he speaks of how he has been struck down from his status of respect in the community to one where people cannot bear to even look at him. In those moment, he is crying out to God, asking why it had happened. The moments that catch my eye though are when he is done mourning the trial, he returns to the debate with his friends on justice. In his responses to them, we see just how strong his faith is in YHWH, and the hope Job has stored in Him.   

Job 19: 25-27 NASB: “And as for me, my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I shall behold myself and not another. My heart faints within me.” The phrase ‘I know my Redeemer lives’ is one many Christians know because of the song Nicole C Mullins released in 2000. It is easy to read the English in this verse, and come to the conclusion that Job is saying Jesus lives, but contextually that doesn’t quite work. This is partly because Job is the oldest book in the Bible. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I noticed no mention of a coming Messiah in the book of Job. That is another reason I found this verse to be confusing for a time because we tend to use Redeemer as a title for Jesus. We use the term redeemer as one who is a deliverer from sin. A more appropriate translation for the Hebrew word “go’el” in this context is vindicator. Vindicator means one who delivers from affliction and wrong which is not due to sin. (I have Spiros Zodhiates to thank for this insight because of a note in my study bible.)

    Job 23: 17 NASB: “But I am not silenced by the darkness, Nor deep gloom which covers me.” This verse comes in the middle of his second to last rebuttal of his friend’s arguments. Before this verse Job speaks of how He longs to see God and beg his case for being upright and faithful. Once he says this, Job says that no one can change God, and that this trial must be part of God’s plan for him. He starts to show his awe, fear, and reverence of God just before this verse. I want to emphasize this verse because Job is stating that though he is confused, he will not be quiet. He will stay faithful, though he has been brought low. This verse shows Job’s character, and how through his faith he perseveres through the troubles in his life.   

    Clinging to our faith in YHWH is essential to pushing through the difficult times this life brings forth to us. God is our Vindicator, and He gave us our redeemer, Jesus, that we may have the opportunity to be forgiven of our sins. May we continue to push forward in this life with these ideas in mind, that we may not falter. Let us retain this knowledge in our hearts, and share it with those around us, that we may be faithful bondservants of YHWH.

 

((I apologize for the late send, and with no photo, our family is camping for the next several days and very limited wifi could cause delays this week.  -Marcia

Thank you for writing, Andrew!   Here’s a little about Andrew….

I’ve been a part of the Hedrick of God since about age 5. I thirsted for the Word, and the depths of knowledge held within it from a young age. Along the way, I was baptized with my dear brother, Zach. One of my first solid memories after baptism is from a year later, my grandpa passed away. I became depressed because I didn’t cry out to God, and God used my depression to help mold me. Through a decade of turmoil, the love of God, and a supportive church family, I’m now ready to put proper effort into the goals I believe I’ve been given.  My intentions are to use my story and the knowledge I obtain from God along the way as a teacher.

 

 

 

Building Faith

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During my first year of college, I was not active in any church or function related to church. Thankfully, after returning home and receiving counseling, I started to return to the church. I was unfortunately working Sundays, but I was able to join the Baptist Collegiate Ministry as a member of the band with my brother. Being exposed to a different denomination, and rediscovering my faith made a drastic change in my life. I started to delve deeper into the Word to determine where I stand in my spirituality. During my studies, I came across Psalm 42, and fell in love with this song.

Psalm 42 NASB: “1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. 5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. 6 O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. 8 The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life. 9 I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” 10 As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

This Psalm is written by the Sons of Korah. In order to get a better understanding of their lives, read into Numbers 16. Psalm 42: 1-2 has a strong mindset about what our desire should be in life. If we’re thirsting for God, we’re looking to better ourselves and the world around us. Matthew 22:39 and Leviticus 19:18 both remind us to love our neighbors as ourselves. If you are depressed or someone you care about is, remind them, or yourself, how beloved they are by our Heavenly Father. In order to love your neighbor you must first love yourself. Otherwise, the way you treat yourself is the way you shall treat other people. Don’t just accept the love you think you deserve. Accept the unconditional love of YHWH into your heart.

Psalm 42:5 starts out with a monologue that I found myself speaking inwardly when I was depressed. The solution to working through those problems is immediately given afterwards. Someone may never understand why their soul is in despair, but keeping hope and praising God will help keep yourself focused on the One who helps heal those wounds. This is an exercise of faith we should all keep in mind,even though it isn’t simple or easy. Psalm 42:8 NASB: ”The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.” This verse is such a wonderful reminder that God is present in our lives. As a musician, reading “His song will be with me in the night” is a breathtaking revelation. Music that man writes can be moving and stunning, but to think about the fact “His song will be with me in the night” gives me a sense of serenity. This verse is also a reminder that we should express our awe and adoration to God in our prayers for the many ways He provides for us.

Keeping your nose in Scripture and having a consistent prayer life is vital to nurturing one’s faith. Doing these things helped me tremendously to fight my depression. The challenge I bring forth to you today is to find a prayer partner. Help one another keep your hearts, minds, souls, and strength on your relationships with YHWH.

A song I suggest for today is:

“Your Love is Strong” by Jon Foreman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-g4uwQlXKw

I chose this song because it is a great adaptation of a prayer turned into a song. The words should sound familiar to you.

-Andrew Cheatwood

Let It All Out

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When I first realized I had become depressed, I was in college. I had fallen ill the first week of second semester freshman year.During that time, I isolated myself from people, started gaming when I was awake, and was sleeping if I wasn’t gaming. I hadn’t realized how deep in the rabbit hole I fell until my vocal lessons teacher put the effort into getting ahold of me, and making sure I was okay. I didn’t understand what depression was because we never covered what mental illnesses are or their symptoms.

Once I’d returned home, mom and dad made sure that I started visiting a counselor. That was a life-changing experience for me. By that time, I had never opened up to anyone about how I felt inside. Truth be told I barely knew how I felt. The Christian counselor I went to helped me delve deeper into what was going on within myself. I was fortunate to have good comforters in my life during that time. The friends of Job who came to his side only tried to tear him down. In Job 16: 1-5, Job tells Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz that they’ve not helped comfort him in a time of pain. In fact, he goes as far as to tell them if they were in his shoes, he would be there for them, aiding them through their times of trouble. Job 16:6 (NASB): “If I speak, my pain is not lessened, and if I hold back, what has left me?” This verse shows one of the troubles of being depressed because simply just talking doesn’t help one work through depression.

Not letting any of the pain and darkness out creates more problems though.

Helping someone open up about their depression is a delicate task that requires sincerity, personal attention, and rebuilding the foundation of faith. If I hadn’t received help from a Christian counselor, it may have been years before I actually opened up to anyone.

Christian counselors aren’t the only outlet to getting through depression though. I believe it takes the effort of family and friends working with the depressed person as well, without pushing too hard. Depression isn’t the same for every person in the same way that no two people are the same. Also worth noting, if the depressed person isn’t willing to open up, or doesn’t feel ready, give them time. Depression doesn’t just spontaneously happen, it builds up over time, and it can take just as much time, if not more, to heal from it.

My challenge for everyone today is to think about the people close to you, and ask them how their life is really going. Don’t just ask them how they are, or what is up. Dig in deep, and build your relationship with a person in your life you may not express enough appreciation of having in your life.

My song suggestion for today is “Let it All Out” by Relient K. I suggest taking time to read the lyrics, and just absorb the story of breaking to be rebuilt.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rUtyfB6gVU

-Andrew Cheatwood

Coming to Terms

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One of the most difficult ordeals that came with my spiritual depression was to look it head on, call it what it was, and start to try moving past it. For me, I had to come running back to God, and tell him that I was angry because I felt He took my grandpa away before many of my life experiences I wanted to share with him. It is just the first step to getting better though. The next few steps require you to find what your passions are after feeling that you haven’t been yourself in quite some time, and where who you’ve been and who you are intertwine. Then, listen to God to see what He has in store for you to do next.

Job 10: 1-2 (HCSB): “I am disgusted with my life. I will express my complaint and speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God: ‘Do not declare me guilty! Let me know why you prosecute me.’”

Job speaks candidly to God throughout the rest of chapter 10 saying that he knows himself to be blameless in the eyes of God, and wants to know why there is no deliverance from the trial he is facing. We witness Job go through this whole trial because God has faith in Job, that Job will be faithful to Him through it all. There are times in this life when we face circumstances that aren’t brought about by our own actions. They can be side effects from this world being a wicked place because this is not the Kingdom of God, or because we are being tested. In Psalm 91, we see the ways YHWH protects us, but it is conditional. The two key conditions are we must love God, and the other is to call upon Him. Psalm 91: 15 (NASB): “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him.”

Psalm 91 doesn’t seem like a chapter that works well in correlation to Job, but I find it is rather fitting. Job 2: 4-6 shows that God set conditions while allowing Satan to test Job. God was with Job the entire time through the trial and tribulation. God answered Job, but not immediately after every question Job brought forth. Last, but not least, God did rescue Job in His time, and honored him for his faithfulness. Today, I challenge you all to reflect upon some of the difficult times in your life, and how God came through for you in a way that left you in awe.

A song suggestion for today is “Who I am Hates Who I’ve Been” by Relient K. If the regular instrumentation form of this song is too much for you to handle, there is also an acoustic version that should be more suitable for your preference.

Regular song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HeuMiuj_Sg

Acoustic Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS6Y3hf57KY

 

-Andrew Cheatwood

Lament

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In the mid to late 2000s, I started to fall in love with music of all genres. My favorite bands at the time were artists that are Christians. In 2008, that began to start changing with my depression. I started relating to lyrics that were more downtrodden because I related to the writers of those songs. That search for understanding started out in a place of lamenting the loss of my grandfather, and the need for comfort. Throughout time though, some of the secular music I related to came from a place of seeking pity rather than a place of lament because there is a fine line between the two that is easy to cross. One song that I never got into, but you will hear in grocery stores nowadays that epitomizes pity rather than lament is “Welcome to My Life” by Simple Plan. The lyrics are meant to relate with others and trying to make others understand how the writer feels, but it comes out as a song that isolates the listeners and the writer. The chorus of the song goes like this: “No you don’t know what it’s like/ when nothing feels alright/ you don’t know what it’s like to be me/ to be hurt, to be lost/ to be left out in the dark/ to be kicked when you’re down/ to feel like you’ve been pushed around/ to be on the edge of breaking down/ and no one’s there to save/ No,you don’t know what it’s like/ Welcome to my life”

Those lyrics aren’t a cry for help, those are lyrics of someone wanting pity making it look like they’re crying for help. They’ve dug themselves so deeply into the rut of depression and the isolation it encourages, that the writer’s want for help is locked away in the back of their mind. I have brought forth this example because I want to show that there is a good way to lament, even if it seems melodramatic to some. The verses I want to look at today is Job 3. The title this chapter was given is Job’s Lament. Job 3: 1-16 are all verses where Job is proclaiming that his life would have been simpler and less painful if he was never born at all. He is correct saying this, and he is saying in mourning the pain and suffering he has endured. Job uses these verses to express the pain he is experiencing to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; men he considers friends. He beseeches them for empathy or sympathy during the most difficult time in his life recorded in Scripture. Instead, they try to ravage his character saying that surely he did something wrong. We know these accusations are false because of Job 1:1.

 

Job 3: 20-22 (NASB): “Why is light given to him who suffers, and life to the bitter of soul; Who long for death, but there is none, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures; who rejoice greatly, they exult when they find the grave?”

Verse 20 is a parallelism where he is asking God why people who suffer are given life. He continues into verse 21 saying that those people from verse 20 seek out death more than hidden treasures. You can either take hidden treasures literally, or some people say that if you look at Proverbs 2:4 that the hidden treasure is wisdom. So the verse could be taken as someone seeking out death more than treasure, or seeking out death more than wisdom. Just food for thought. Verse 22 Job leads me to believe that the context of verse 21 describes someone seeking out death more than wisdom. This is an important detail to iterate because for me, this describes someone who has become depressed to the point they have become suicidal. From my experience, people who are considering suicide tend to contemplate death, but don’t choose a way to die until they feel they cannot bear life’s pain anymore. Usually that occurs with one last event that feels rather impactful on their life. Once that event happens to them though, they have resolved how, but not when.

The time frame between how and when is the most important time for us to help people with suicidal thoughts because they usually try to find a reason to live one last time, because they don’t entirely want to die. They want comfort and for someone to help them find peace within this life. If they don’t receive that help, they’ll make the selfish decision to cease living to end the pain. This isn’t true for all cases. I’m just stating from my experience, this is what seems to happen.

 

Job isn’t the only man to curse the day he was born in Scripture. Jeremiah did so as well in Jeremiah 20: 14-18. Both of these men sought out comfort from God in times of persecution because it was unjustly given to them. Jeremiah also wrote Lamentations mourning the destruction of Israel that began the Babylonian Exile time frame.

 

The exercise of lamenting is to express grief and mourning in a manner to seek supplication or comfort from God. The fine line between seeking pity and lamenting is who are you reaching out to when expressing your mourning and grief. Seeking pity is to seek out comfort from man to make things better. Lamenting is to seek out God and ask for His comfort. Something for us all to work on is to help lead one another in times of trouble to God for His guidance and comfort, instead of trying to help fix the problem ourselves.

 

Also, a song that I believe shows lamenting well is “Vice Verses” by Switchfoot, if you’d like some music to listen to while reading, or to keep focus on the idea of lamenting throughout your day. It should be noted, if you look up the song you may come across the full album because the song and the album share a title.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Lv8z9RuPA

 

Andrew Cheatwood

Depression: Strictly Chemical, or can there be Spiritual Causes?

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Depression and mental illness have become hot topics in the public eye in the past decade, and for good reason. Chaos and heartless acts are being televised everywhere, traumatic and high stress events occur in peoples’ lives, and it becomes so easy to stay stuck in an abysmal state of mind. For some people, depression is a chemical imbalance that can be treated with prescription drugs. I believe it goes deeper than that for many people nowadays though. Depression for some people comes from a place of spiritual turmoil. It is something I know from personal experience because I’ve been fighting with depression on and off for over a decade. It starts to eat away at you, pessimism is the easiest form of logic to use, hopelessness starts to flood into you, and just a general lack of self worth creates a house for itself in your heart and mind. These were constants in my life since my 8th grade year when one of my biggest life influences, my grandpa, passed away. When that happened, my fight or flight instincts kicked into gear about how do I react to this situation. The choices my heart and mind gave me were: cry out to God for comfort and just to understand why this happened, or run away in the anger that had welled up within the confusion and pain because of unresolved time with my grandfather.

 

I ran away from God that day because I was hurt, I didn’t know how to talk about what had happened, and I was scared to show a hole in my armor at school because it felt like the people at school fed on my failure and pain. I now know looking at the past that probably wasn’t true, but I lost that passion to learn for a bit because I didn’t want to be attacked from the inside and out. The experiences I’ve had may not have been pleasant, but we’ve got an example of someone in Scripture who has gone through much worse, and came out on top because of his faith in God. That man’s name is Job. I believe that if we take the time to understand him we can learn to sympathize or empathize with people who have gone through, or are going through spiritual depression.

 

Job 2:9 (NASB). “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Personally, this verse is the best example of a variant of the fight or flight question that ran through my mind. Job was given the option to hold fast to his integrity, which stems from his relationship with the Heavenly Father. He was also given the option to curse God and die. Given everything that had happened to him by this point, it would be extremely easy for anyone to cry out in anger against God. Job by this point had lost all his monetary wealth, his cattle were all decimated, his children all recently died, and he had just begun to lose his health. Even through all of that, he stayed faithful to YHWH. Job 2:10 (NASB): “But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

The response he gives has been stuck inside my head ever since I have read these verses. “…Shall we indeed accept good from God and not adversity…” That is such a healthy perspective on life, and one we must learn for ourselves. These words are ones I believe we must learn to use with one another in love and gentleness because it is easier to become angry with God, instead of realize we can use the rough patches of our lives as catalysts for something better. Whether that is to draw closer to God, be empathetic with another’s life stories, or to share our stories letting others know they aren’t the only ones struggling in this life.

-Andrew Cheatwood

 

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