Friday, March 28, 2008

Out of the depths - Psalm 130

My friend and brother-in-Christ, John, did this lovely video on Psalm 130.

Psalm 130 is one of my favourite Psalms in the Bible. In my struggles with severe depression, this Psalm has brought much comfort to me. From the depths of my dark and painful experiences, I learn to cry unto our Lord for in Him alone I can find salvation and deliverance.

During severe depression, I am particularly conscious of my sins and failures towards God and other people. Though depression is not always due to sin or spiritual reasons, it does have a detrimental effect on one's spiritual life. During depression, what I find most unbearable was my inability to enjoy prayers, reading of the Bible, public worship and fellowship. I do love and enjoy these things when I am well. But during depression, I can't feel any joy in these things at all. This is because depression caused the brain not to function properly and not able to send the right messages, and a person is not able to think or feel rightly. So I can't feel any joy or enjoy anything generally. But I mistakenly thought it is because I was not right with God. Yet no matter how much I prayed and seek the Lord's forgiveness, I could not get better. Usually it is after 3 to 6 months, or sometimes longer that I began to feel better.

And when others implied that I was depressed either because I have sinned or lack of faith in God, it doesn't help at all but only aggravate my condition as I began to experience a lot of guilt when there is no basis for it. Only God knows how I cried unto Him and look to Him during those dark days. I used to sing this Psalm and find comfort that with God there is forgiveness of sins and whether my depression is due to sin or not, God will forgive and deliver me. If God were to mark my sins, I cannot stand before Him. But God is merciful and I hope in Him. Thank God for His mercies and faithfulness in sustaining and delivering me time and again. I am encouraged by His love, mercies and faithfulness.

Thank God that my diagnosis last year helped me to know that I have a proneness to bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) which is a chronic mood disorder that can be treated. Thank God that now with medical helps, counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, regular exercise, Omega 3 fish oil, managing stress level, et etc my condition is under control now and I am able to live a more stable and useful life. I also read the Bible and pray daily for strength and grace from God to live for Him joyfully and serve Him despite my condition and limitations. I thank God for joy in Him daily as I experience His love and mercies in many wonderful ways.

Thank God that no matter what depths we may fall into in this life, we can cry unto Him and find comfort and deliverance in Him. And when He allows us to go through prolonged period of darkness, pains and sufferings, we can still have the assurance of His love and presence with us.

I thank God that He brought me to know more of Himself and His love for me through my darkest and most painful battle with depression. God is very real to me because of His presence with me and the way I see Him working in my life and delivering me time and again. I pray that I may be able to love Him and serve Him all the days of my life, and I will be able to love others with His love so that they too can know the saving grace of God and know His love and care.

And for us who have placed our trust and hope in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, we can have the assurance of God's love for us and His presence with us through all the changing scenes of life. Even when we cannot feel God's presence with us because of our depression numbing our brain and feelings, we can still have the calm assurance that God loves us and is with us, and He will deliver us. And one day, when our tasks here are completed, we can have the joy of entering into our eternal rest and we shall enjoy His love and fellowship forever more, never to be hindered by sins or sicknesses any more. What a blessed hope!

Psalm 130
Scottish Metrical Psalm
1  Lord, from the depths to thee I cried.
2 My voice, Lord, do thou hear:
Unto my supplication's voice
give an attentive ear.

3 Lord, who shall stand, if thou, O Lord,
should'st mark iniquity?
4 But yet with thee forgiveness is,
that feared thou mayest be.

5 I wait for God, my soul doth wait,
my hope is in his word.
6 More than they that for morning watch,
my soul waits for the Lord;

I say, more than they that do watch
the morning light to see.
7 Let Israel hope in the Lord,
for with him mercies be;

And plenteous redemption
is ever found with him.
8 And from all his iniquities
he Isr'el shall redeem.

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