Monday, December 29, 2014

Comfort For The Disappointed and Depressed

It’s OK to be disappointed and depression should have its run but both are not meant to be dwelling places. God does not intend for us to stay “down.” The Corinthian church was disappointed with the apostle Paul because he said he would come visit and he did not show up. Sadly, they held his absence against him.  What they did not know is the reason Paul did not come when he said he would. Paul wrote them:

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” [2 Co 1:8-11 ESV]

We don’t have many details about Paul’s delay, but here’s what we do know. The Philips translation reads, “we were completely overwhelmed; the burden was more than we could bear; in fact we told ourselves that this was the end.”  
  • “we were burdened beyond measure, above strength,” In other words, he was depressed by the experience.
  • “we despaired even of life.” He was in despair, at a loss, out of resources.
  • we had the sentence of death in ourselves” If you could ask Paul how things are going to turn out in the midst of his experience, he would have answered with two words: “we die.”
Did you notice in verse 11 that Paul asks for the prayers of those who have misunderstood the situation? Instead of letting disappointment and depression divide their relationship, he called them alongside to help.  He showed them grace because he knew they did not have enough information.

Are you entering the New Year disappointed with someone? Do you have a clear understanding as to “why”? What can you do to come alongside and help?

Start the New Year learning from Paul’s example to overcome depression and disappointment:
  •  Choose the Lord--set Him before you (Psalm 16:8)
  • Change your company (Ps 1:1-3)
  • Confess your sin (Ps 32:1-3)
  • Carry Out God’s Commands (James 1:22-25)
  • Crucify the Flesh (Gal 5:24)
  • Consider the truth: believe God (Ro 15:13)
  • Contain the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52)
  • Communicate Joy (Prov. 15:32)
  • Comfort others (2 Cor 1)

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