In the last post, I spoke about the liberating community of faith. I believe another piece of my story that has saved me from the surrounding darkness of depression has been to open my eyes and see the white fields of harvest. Listen to the context:
And he went around the entire city, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing all disease and every weakness. As he saw the crowd, he was stirred with compassion for them because they were troubled and cast down, like sheep not having a shepherd (Matt 9.35-36)
The remedy for your depression is to surround yourself with others who have been purchased by our Savior’s forsaken blood (as I suggested in the last post). I also believe that when we lift up our eyes and see the needs all around us, we will be freed from the debilitating depression that would rob us of our joy. You see, when we stop to look up and see others who are cast down and without hope, it adjusts our attitudes a smidge. At least it has for me.
Mission, even if pursued for the selfish reason of trying to free us from depression, brings glory to God. When we are aware enough to see that our world is bigger and messier than our daily grind, we are miraculously saved from fear and loathing.
What is more, when we get to experience the miraculous regeneration of another rebel by sharing the hope we have in the Good News of the Kingdom, we find ourselves being swept up into the chorus of angels singing upon one more lost sheep’s repentance and faith. We get the joy of helping others find the Shepherd their hearts have been longing for.
Now, of course, these joys may be short-lived. You will still need to go back to days of sadness and worry and fear. You will still find the fog hard to navigate. You will still find that your smoldering wick is everything but snuffed out. Mission, does not solve the problem. But it is remedy. A gloriously temporal remedy with eternal repercussions. When you lift your eyes up to see the white fields, you hit the pause button on your own issues long enough to step into another’s shoes. And there, you find that life is bigger than pockets of cold, bleak darkness.
One more piece, as it relates to mission. Our Lord taught us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Sure, it is wonderful to get gifts at Christmas. But as we mature in life, we find even more joy seeing others faces light up when they open their presents. In the same way, when we follow our Lord’s example and lay down our lives (dying to self and its selfish desires) so that someone else might have life, we find joy unspeakable.
Sure, we are meant to die. Everyday we are called to kill ourselves so others might experience life. In a perverse way we have thought that paying a knife to our wrists would free us from the pain. The truth is, when we take up our crosses daily, we find life. May Christ, who laid down his perfect life for you and for me, be the light and hope that you have longed to experience. And may you find hope now, in time and space, by laying down your life for others.