Sunday, March 9, 2008

Thank God for the joy of worship and fellowship

Thank God for the joy of going to church today to worship God and to have fellowship with my church friends. It is spiritually very refreshing to me and it lifts up my spirit to continue to seek God and walk with Him and serve Him in the coming week.

This is a privilege which I can't enjoy very much whenever I go through relapses of severe depression. Whenever I go through severe depression, I will be so slowed down and miserable that I could hardly function. I have no energy nor will to do anything. From the moment I wake up in the morning until the time I go to bed, I will be extremely miserable. This often can go on for about 3 to 6 months, or longer. I dragged myself through each day, incapable of feeling any pleasure or joy. The most painful of all was the sad fact that I lost my joy in the Lord too at such times. This is because the chemical in my brain is not functioning properly or sending the appropriate messages. I was not able to think or feel aright generally. So I often mistakenly thought that either God has forsaken me or I was not a true Christian. Sometimes I wondered whether I was a hypocrite destined for eternal damnation. Life seems so meaningless to me without God. What is the point of going on?

I cannot imagine how I could have survived the 10 or so dark and painful depression episodes without God’s preservation and mercies. During those years, I didn’t know that my condition is an illness and that there is actually a pattern to it. After several months of normal or high (hypomania), a relapse of clinical depression will follow for another few months. In the recent years, my relapses have become more closer and more difficult to cope. With every severe depressive episodes, there is the tendency to have suicidal thoughts as life seems so meaningless without God and the ability to enjoy anything or do anything. The seemed no light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank God that even though I was not able to feel His presence or love for me during a relapse of severe depression, He has never leave me nor forsake me. In fact, it is He that is sustaining me. Underneath me is His everlasting arms! What a mercy!
"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: ...." Deuteronomy 33:27a

It is a mercy that I can have opportunities to worship God in a Church that love God and love me. I thank God for His love for me in leading me to know Himself in 1990, some 18 years ago, and how He has sustained me through so many challenges in my life. Even now in this bipolar disorder, He is continuing to enable me to know more of His love and faithfulness.

I thank God for my family, my Pastor, my church elders and deacons, church friends and other friends, for all their prayers and encouragements, and kindness in so many ways. These are tokens of God's love for me and they strengthen my heart as I seek to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ and serve Him. It gives me courage to continue on despite my condition. Though I know that there is always the possibility that I might have to go through severe depression again though on medication and with other help (as this is the nature of the illness), but I find much joy and courage in the Lord daily as I look to Him for strength and grace to live for Him. I know that He will continue to take care of me even as I strive to take care of myself so that I can continue to seek and serve Him. And I can look forward to the day when my tasks on this earth is completed, and the Lord takes me home to be with Himself, to my eternal rest, to enjoy His love, to worship Him and to spend eternity with Him. What a blessed hope!

My brother, Arthur, took this lovely photo at Muriwai Beach, West Auckland, New Zealand.

"...for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5

John 14
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

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