It was a beautiful day, among the best of the summer; so I was especially enjoying my afternoon walk. As the sun was shining, there was a spring in my step. Taking a deep breath of the outdoor air, I noticed in the rear view window of a car:
“Amen!” I say! “Thank you, Lord.”
Then I think. “Lord, when did it turn around for me or rather how? How did I leave that state of loneliness, feelings of isolation and depression?”
I remembered a time when I would cry because I felt so alone. I remembered always fighting those feelings of desolation. Like quicksand, fighting unhappiness and negativity tends to suck one down further, to keep one stuck. That was true for me. I had so much to be happy about, so much to celebrate. As a believer knowing the God of grace and mercy and love, how could I be so easily prey to gloom? It happens. Emotions are corrupt like the rest of creation. I am not the only one who has been stuck in the quicksand of despair.
As I walked I thought about what changed. How does one get out of quicksand? If fighting it drags you down, how does one break free? Instead of fighting against the quicksand, it is rather reaching for the rope, the branch, the Savior that will lift you out. Fighting for what you seek rather than against what you want to escape had been my remedy. It is the Lord’s cure and one of the reasons I so love the book of Philippians.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Where does my joy come from - my joy comes from the Lord. He has shown me how to live in joy, in delight. Counting your blessings, is more than a cliche; it is a Biblical mandate. Dwelling on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise is in fact a prescription for well-being and mental and emotional health. As we practice such thinking, the God of peace will be with us and so will the joyful countenance He intends for us to have.
Jesus Christ is our branch to lift us out of the desperate quicksand into which corrupt emotions would suck us. The Holy Spirit will empower us to hold onto that branch and to experience the freedom from the quicksand if we put into practice what is available to us in the Word of God. It isn’t always easy and there will be other bouts with quicksand on the journey through the jungle of life, but we do not travel alone. The Holy Spirit remains with us always there to pull us out. And if we realize that fighting the quicksand just sucks us into it, we can stop that useless effort and reach up for the Savior to deliver us. Our disheartenment will then be brief as we abide in the love and provision of the Lord God.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
My walk was more than pleasant as I came to understand something abstract more concretely, a transformation that had happened in me along life’s path. It was so simple, yet somehow I hadn’t recognized the how of it before quite like I did on my walk today. By learning to listen to the Holy Spirit, I stopped fighting against emotional angst and began to fight for emotional health. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
The Lord is the lifter of my head. I shall delight in Him!
I lift my eyes up to the hills.
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
Maker of heaven and earth.