Closeness and melancholy

This is a bit off subject from my less-than-blinding excursion through Cost of Discipleship, but it has been on my mind the past few days…Despair

What is it about closeness to God (and periods of closeness and renewal) that tends to bring with it an almost insatiable tendency towards despondency? Luther despaired over the most seemingly minor of sins. Spurgeon wrestled with depression like few will dare to admit. Mother Theresa faced seasons, even years, when she all but lost hope. Others, no doubt, have been in the same position throughout the centuries.

Now, I certainly make no claims to be anywhere near the stature, greatness, holiness, or closeness to God as the three named above, but I certainly feel an affinity to them if only in this one respect. Throughout my Christian life, at those times when I am drawn most closely to Christ, I am tormented by my own emotions. The smallest upset can throw me into a deep funk. The experience of others’ joy can make me withdraw, almost bitterly at times. At those times, the reality that I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1.3) is lost and snuffed by my own melancholy!

Why does the devil torment me at these times…cursed is he among the damned! “Stealer of joy, quencher of happiness, devourer of blessing–fit only for the lake of fire are you, Lion of Hell!

But…”Praise be to you, O Christ, giver of all joy, nurturer of happiness, mediator of all blessing–to you and the Father and the Holy Spirit be all praise glory and honor!!!

At all times, I am driven to the cross of my Savior by my want of righteousness and need of grace. Especially at these times, I am bound to focus on Christ and not on myself or my circumstance. Like no other time must I be reminded of the promises of Jesus: that he never to leave or forsake us (Heb 13.5b); that his yoke is easy and his burden light (Mt 11.30); that he is Immanuel, God with us (Mt 1.23).

Thanks be to God for his marvelous grace in Christ Jesus!


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