How to Survive the Dark Place. Where is God In My Dark Place? (Part 2)

Depression is a bear! I’ve endured the challenge. Countless other people have as well. If you are joining the conversation in mid-stride you may want to read the earlier blog post at http://truth-publications.com/how-to-survive-the-dark-place-where-is-god-in-my-dark-place/

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Surviving and finding God in a dark place isn’t glitzy. I have no trite answers. Well-meaning people offer advice like, “Pray your way through it,” or the more frustrating, “What is wrong with you? You have a wonderful life – give God praise!” At one time, I gave similar suggestions; a man presenting travel directions to a place I’d never been. Having been to the dark place, I can now provide a better travel guide. Some things that helped me survive my dark place . . .

My earlier suggestion was to pray the Psalms aloud.  Speaking a thing aloud gives weight beyond silently reading. Some scholars say the Psalms were intended to be read aloud.

Further observations regarding what helped me

Doing what God called me to do.

Depression causes lack of delight in the things a person once relished. An avid fisherman or golfer no longer enjoy their pastime. As a servant of God, some things are non-negotiable even in the darkest hour. I love to preach and teach. It is what God called me to do. One’s golf clubs may get dusty, but there is no withdrawing from that to which God has called. I kept preaching. Of one era of his life, John Bunyan recalled, “I walked around in chains and spoke to people in chains, but in the pulpit, my chains fell off.” My experience was the same.

 

 

Involvement with people.

This is a challenge. Those dealing with depression want to withdraw. Dallas business executive, Fred Smith wrote that he had found a guarantee for depression’s continuation. That guarantee – inaction. By contrast, he saw the sure cure . . . as activity. In the dark season muster the energy to stay involved with people. Of my suggestions, this was personally the most challenging.

Journaling

In the dark, I found the treasure of written prayer. Writing words of adoration, confession, thanksgiving a, d supplication became a life-line. Writing gave my prayer dimension and forced me to think about what I really needed to communicate. As I wrote to Him, Jesus began to write fresh things into my mind and spirit.

In the dark, I found the treasure of written prayer. Writing words of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication became a life-line. Writing gave my prayer dimension and forced me to think about what I really needed to communicate. As I wrote to Him, Jesus began to write fresh things into my mind and spirit.

Early next week I’ll add a final thought.  I’ve received more direct feedback about talking and writing about this life issue than any other.  Add your suggestions if you’d like.

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October 11, 2012

How to Survive the Dark Place! Where is God In My Dark Place? (Part 3)

October 11, 2012

6 Thoughts on How to Survive the Dark Place. Where is God In My Dark Place? (Part 2)

  1. Thank you Bro. Coon for this second part and also mention this:
    “John Bunyan recalled, ‘I walked around in chains and spoke to people in chains, but in the pulpit, my chains fell off.’ My experience was the same.”
    The pulpit and ministry are the places that God actually overrides the dark place and for a few moments manifests Himself. Then I have to face reality again. My wife often comments, you are so positive in the pulpit, why can’t you be the same the rest of the time? My response? Because the things I have no control over outside the pulpit show reaffirm their existence. I preach God’s Word, that is what I am called to do. He is the one who brings people to Him and saves them. When the people I have invested in return to their old ways, or boldly declare, “God doesn’t require that of me!” I have the equivalent of a “sugar crash” emotionally. Is God still there? Yes. Is God still able? Yes. He does not change. But more times than not He does not reinforce His desire as he did for Moses/Korah, Elijah, Peter/Ananias and Sapphira, Paul/Elymas, etc., and consequently the people go on with their carnal ways, and lack of commitment. This makes for many dark places for me, because I’m trying to get these people to heaven.

    Reply
    • Bro. Sievers,

      The task is huge. One of the things I did have to learn was to not try to be responsible for the things only God can actually accomplish. This was eventually quite liberating for me. Many blessings on you.

      Reply
  2. Having previously listened to many of your vodcasts and podcasts and hearing you speak in Middletown, KY recently there is no indication that you would even fall into the category of which you speak. Although I am not a pastor (HM or otherwise) I am and have been a UPCI minister for over 20 years. In that time I have never connected with a specific ministry. Not sure why. I have watched as others around me haven taken off in their “calling”. It has been, at the very least, frustrating, especially as I move beyond the half century mark. The “dark place” that you speak of is a place I have been familiar with – many times. It has been a loving wife that has encouraged me and kept me from walking away from it on numerous occasions. I still have dark days even to this day. The involvement does work at times and I have journaled for many years, although not in the style of written prayer as you stated. I will have to try that along with praying the psalms out loud. As with most ministers that deal with the daily stresses of pastoring, preaching, family, etc., and end up where you did, it sounds as though it all gets a little overwhelming and can lead to the very place you have described and lived. I believe in my case I feel that I have “missed” the things that may have been what brought you to a dark place. There is a certain amount of fulfillment that comes with pastoring and leading people. This is something I have longed for but have yet to attain to.
    Looking forward to the final installment on this thread.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your input. I think many people like those mentioned in the first post on this topic – Charles Spurgeon and others would never have been thought to be struggling with the dark time. Someone once said that 25% of any congregation are struggling with some degree of depression. We need to be mindful of the invisible wounds people carry. Many who are our wonderful age enter their first pastorate. So many places need a preacher! Stay connected.

      Reply
    • I struggled with the same, it seems that everyone else was moving on and God was using them over time and all I ever got from the Lord (It’s just not your time) I have waited for 40+ years and have just found a book that has helped a lot, if we belong to God , we are his to do what he wishes if it is to set on the side lines that is what we must do and not complain (it is not easy) but we are his to use as he wishes and NO all the programs that the church is involved in will fulfill that longing to be up and about our masters business. Just wait until your time when it comes it will be great because it is Gods timing not ours, and by the way are all those that seemed to get a jump still in the race? and are they doing what God called them to do? or are they just filling a space in the churches eyes for honors sake. If God called you he has a plan for you read the scriptures and see how many people were called and done 1 work in all their lives, it’s not how many or much you do it’s DOING WHAT GOD WANTS YOU TO DO for his glory not ours. If you have several employees each has a seperate job and aybe 1 job just needs to be done ever great once in a while and it can only be done by this 1 employee You have trained (groomed) him for that task he is a great employee so it is with God you go through a lot to do 1 job 1 time but God has spent your whole life for this moment your moment just has not came yet, he has to get everything in line before your time comes. Hang in there your time is coming. It can’t be long the way this world is going I believe God has a lot of evangelist for the last call (It will be great to be in that number).

      Reply

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