“Then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” Leviticus 26:4
For a few shining moments a few weeks ago, we had summery weather. Beautiful skies, warm temps, fleeting moments outdoors when we could wave to neighbors…made us wonder if all this coronavirus stuff was really real or not.
Then, as usual, April arrived in full force—showers that bring May flowers, or so we hope. It has rained. And rained. With more rain to come. With lightning, thunder, flooding, and destructive tornadoes in our state. I feel like I’m beginning to grow moss between my toes.
With the endless drenching, our thoughts have turned to gloom and doom. We slog through our days, unmotivated to tackle the mounting pile of projects. A cold chill has seeped into our household, even beneath the blankets where we huddle for comfort at night.
But is it really the rain that’s bringing us down? Or has depression crept in, unnoticed?
My good friend, Michele King, is director of care services at Summit Leadership Foundation and serves there as a Christian counselor. Recently, she was interviewed by television anchor Josh Smith from WJHL-TV about ways to cope with some of the anguish, anxiety, grief, fear, and other mental health issues that have gripped us in this coronavirus pandemic.*
Michele points out that depression carries an element of grief. Wherever we live, we grieve now over loss of fellowship, milestone celebrations, freedoms, jobs, or financial security, even the loss of loved ones or the ability to take care of them. But while anxiety and fear release energy, depression sucks the energy out of us—it drains us to where we can’t function.
For dealing with loved ones who are depressed, Michele advises respecting them without shaming them, to be a good listener to them and help them put a name to their feelings. If you’re the one suffering through depression, she suggests thinking “inside the box”…to look at what you can control in your life and take small, positive steps without letting yourself get overwhelmed by too many conflicting emotions or expectations.
She also says that holding fast to our faith in Jesus Christ is the way to true peace. “Invite Him into your box to sit with you,” Michele says, “even if you don’t know Him…to get to know more about Him.”
Finally, she offers a definition of “resilience” I hadn’t considered before: it’s the strength, courage, and ability to imagine a new way forward, and being able to embrace something different when we need to. “You will become resilient as you adapt to changed circumstances, without losing your desire to fulfill your purpose in life,” Michele adds. “We’re going to naturally develop this resilience as we embrace what’s ahead…I know a lot of good is going to come out of this.”
Can we see the privilege in the rain around us? Yes, when we consider that it’s part of God’s sovereign plans for our lives. Rain brings rest, rejuvenation, and refreshment in a parched environment. It’s not the rain that clouds our hearts but the fatigue of an ongoing anxiety.
If you’re having a gloomy day today, turn your eyes upon Jesus Christ. Invite Him into your “box,” and ask Him to help you identify small tasks that bring joy and purpose into your day. If you continue to be weighed down with depression, look for online Christian counseling services and find someone to help you talk through your situation.
Eventually—just as this coronavirus pandemic will wear itself down—we will find His joy again, just as in this great promise from 1 Peter 1:6-7—“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ….”
Even as I write this, the sun has peeked through brilliantly blue skies and revealed an explosion of green outside—the blessing of spring and His rebirth of our beautiful earth. May you be comforted today, renewed in your faith, and energized to bless others!
Lord God of heaven, thank You for sending us rain, even when we don’t welcome it. Please continue to renew our hearts and restore our joy in the midst of the downpour of life’s tribulations. Be our Light and Life, that we may forge ahead to accomplish Your purposes today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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*This excellent interview with Michele King is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JoshSmithNews/videos/237001607659330/UzpfSTEyMDAwNzE1MzE6MTAyMTk0NjQ2OTY1NDY5Nzc/?d=n
To connect with Michele’s blogs and other messages from Summit Leadership, go to https://summitlife.org/category/summit-life-today/