Hope for the Heart in Despair

I did not know I was depressed until I got married. Over time I would see that depression had been present since I was a child. Yet when I walked down the aisle ten years ago, I had never said the words out loud. I was ashamed of my depression, and in absolute denial.

After I came to Christ as a teenager and ventured into young adulthood I had more to fight than my own rebellious sin. There was a war I would fight against the effects sin had inflicted on my heart. My heart was diseased with lies and in pain. I was broken and sick from the pain of my experiences.

The freedom God has graciously granted in my life in the area of depression is for another time and post. But as we live in this world that has been infected with sin, everyone experiences the crossfire of sin in different ways. The crossfire showed itself in my life through childhood trauma. I know what it’s like to feel left, scared, weak, and used. I know what it’s like to stuff and stuff the pain for years believing that survival was the bookend of those years. I know the condemnation that comes when you wonder why you keep struggling. “I must not love God enough?” “My faith is too weak.” “I need to pray more. Read the bible more. Be better. Be stronger.” It was my fault I couldn’t fix it.

The heart is the well-spring of life. We are to guard it. What happens when the heart is trespassed by the sins of others and caught in the crossfire of sin in the world?

Recently one of our pastors preached on Hebrews 1:3b:

After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…

Christ made purifications for our sins then he sat down. My pastor explained that he sat down because the work of defeating death and sin had been accomplished. Jesus sitting down at the right hand of his father declared to every being in heaven and earth, “It is finished.”

I was struck by the hope and my heart cried out “YES!” There is hope as we overcome our sin and reflect Christ more and more accurately. But there is also hope as we face the brokenness caused by this sinful world and the captives living in it. Christ won against sin. He beat the power of sin. He wins over every way sin has played out in this world, and every way it is afflicting our minds and hearts.

I limped around for years spiritually, not able to even imagine myself without the sadness of my past. I looked to the return of Christ as the finish line, trying to simply survive in the mean time. I would grit my teeth and I would limp on, truly happy for the hope of eternity.

I had befriended despair, and did not recognize the prisoner I had become.

Christians, do not believe hopelessness in anything.

My obedience required going to counseling. It felt counter intuitive to my preservation instincts to run towards the pain. But we can run towards the pain knowing it is hemmed in behind and before with the cross.

he heals the brokenhearted

As we behold our Savior sitting down at the right hand of the Father on high, it is a call to pursue healing and wholeness in the land of the living. It is a reminder that there is hope for our pain today. There is present healing for our afflictions.

To our finite hearts and minds this can feel complicated and wearisome. It does not matter how intricately sin has been weaved into the fabric of our psyche and soul, the power of the cross is wise enough and strong enough to separate the truth from the lies and then to heal the torn bits of us the separation will cause.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 43:5)

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. (Psalm 30:2)

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy. (Psalm 103:2-4)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

How have you seen the power of the cross heal your wounded heart?

Published September 21, 2015