I'm writing quite a hard post about suicide and the Christian at the moment - someone I know who loved Jesus Christ but wrestled with depression all their lives took their own life in the last few weeks. I've admitted a couple of times before that I've had suicidal thoughts at times at the depths of feeling depressed. And I'm staggered there is so little encouragement, guidance, or sermons dealing with this - yet many Christian greats dealt with depression including William Cowper (the hymn-writer who actually committed suicide himself) and C H Spurgeon.
But I've been amazed again at the power of Gospel-centered worship for lifting the soul. I felt so incredibly and utterly low yesterday after a hard weekend - and made a deliberate and concerted effort to soak in Spirit-filled worship (particularly Hillsongs and Newfrontiers) and have felt such a breaking of the clouds of darkness! I cannot urge anyone like me who struggles with feeling depressed and maybe even suicidal thoughts - to soak and find and hear and sing to worship songs that are focused and obsessed with the glorious gospel.
Here's my favourite at the moment - "Worthy is the Lamb" from Hillsongs;
"Now ALL I know is Your forgiveness and embrace!".
That is the Biblical fact of our current experience! Why is it that the main course of most Christian depression comes from doubt and fear that God is less than thrilled with them? Or worse is angry with them? The sad fact is that many church leaders actually proudly preach the wrath and anger of God at people who are covered by the blood of the only Son of God? It's a sobering thought that some churches have blood on their hands because they have allowed the lie to continue - rather than preaching the unadulterated gospel of grace.
"The Darling of Heaven crucified!".
I wonder if Jesus hung upon the Cross and saw each and every son and daughter that His blood would redeem flash before His eyes? I wonder if His already broken heart broke just a little bit more at the premature deaths of those redeemed beloved ones who just couldn't quite "get" His love and adoration for them? What a price! Surely that most precious price of all DEMANDS that we fight depression, suicide and any emotion that robs the true wonder of Calvary?
"Thou art worthy!".
Something occured to me yesterday. Most Christians believe and utter the Westminster Confession that the "chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever". Or of course as John Piper puts it; "Glorify God BY enjoying Him forever". I wonder what happens if Christians do not enjoy God and therefore are not glorifying Him? I wonder what happens if Christians cannot remember the last time they enjoyed God? Does that suggest that actually the reason for living - the chief end of man - has gone and really why continue living?
This is why worship is so key to me and so essential in the battle to win against depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings. Worship lifts our spirits and focuses our attention off ourselves and our struggles and onto God and His love and passion and beauty and Being. Let's never, ever allow ourselves to stop worshipping!