Thursday, March 24, 2016

Manifesting the Life of Jesus

My husband is prone to depression. Those months in the fall of 1999 blindsided us; they were difficult, adjusting, learning times. I hope we do not experience the depth of their darkness again.

I remember our conversation over dinner the night we received his diagnosis. “Are we going to tell our friends?” I queried. Bill responded, “Let’s not use the word depression; let’s say, Bill is exhausted.” While not admitting openly to the clinical diagnosis of depression, I longed for friends with whom I could talk. I’m an extrovert; I process out-loud.

Our initial attempts at sharing—but not really—with others were comical. A pattern emerged. As we (mostly me) communicated with others using our agreed on descriptor, the response was always, “Oh Bill is depressed.” Well, yes. God pushed us to vulnerability. 

As the depression waned and Bill began sharing his story another pattern manifested itself—a telling question from others, “Are you on medication?”  “Yes.” And then the admission from the questioner (after carefully checking to make sure no-one else heard), “I’ve never told anyone this, but I am too.” The underlying belief of many, depression is something to be embarrassed about.

For us—as well as countless others, depression is one of our crosses; a pain we carry in this life.

Give your pain to God as a sacrifice.
The Garden Tomb in Israel. Thank you to my friend Carolyn Eden.
 The apostle Paul knew about pain; he spoke of it in his letter to the Corinthian church as "a thorn". (II Corinthians 12:8). He pleaded with God to take it away; it remained. 

In a letter to the church at Philippi written from his prison cell Paul says, “as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not at all be ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20). 

Paul’s exhortation to the church at Rome has a similar ring, “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). 

Jesus lived with the painful reality that every day brought him closer to Gethsemane and Mount Calvary. 

The scriptures are filled with stories of hard things: sickness, death, corruption, and more. Life is pain-filled; life is full of crosses.

Give your pain to God as a sacrifice; like Paul did, like Jesus did.

How do I do that?
·         Don’t be surprised by my pain.
·         Don’t hide my pain.
·         Allow my pain to bless; to be redemptive. 

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
II Corinthians 4:7-12


  1. Loved this Sue! Hope it's OK but I shared it on my Facebook page. Much love, Nancy

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