Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fini de Gersigny - a New Take on Depression!

I first met Fini de Gersigny when I went to the "Glory and Grace Conference 2007" - the first conference held by Rob and Glenda Rufus in Hong Kong! I have to be honest - I wasn't hugely impressed with him at first as a speaker. He was a fantastic, outstanding worship leader - without fail, he led us into the manifest Presence of God in a way I have only seen Kate Simmonds come close to. But as a speaker (I'm ashamed to say) I judged him - he didn't expound anything in the manner I was used to, and laughed a lot, spoke in tongues a fair bit and told lots of stories.

However the second time he spoke at the conference, the Holy Spirit very graciously began to unpeel my pathetic pride and arrogance and see what was really going on in my heart. It wasn't an issue about Fini's preaching. It was that I was jealous of his joy and wonder in the Presence of God. It was that I longed to have a similar experience and relationship with God that he had. Fini himself said at "Glory and Grace 2011" this year;

"There is nothing more annoying that someone who is more joyful than you are".

It's so true! That year I have to say I was more taken with his wife Isi - as both a worship leader and a prophetess. Indeed I had a powerful encounter when she laid her hands on me in the "fire tunnel" that so radically changed my life.

But progressively as I have listened to and followed the "Glory and Grace conferences" that I haven't been able to afford to get to - I've increasingly come to appreciate deeply Fini de Gersigny's wonderful ministry as a man of God and his insights into Scripture and to the mind of God. Yes - maybe he isn't an expositor in the fashion of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones or Stanley Jebb or Terry Virgo. But he is different - and wonderfully so!

I have been listening to both Isi and Fini's messages from this year's "Glory and Grace conference" on the advice of Rob Rufus. I'm still struggling to lay off the legalistic ties of my past and really begin to enjoy and understand the unconditional love of God. My normal practice is to listen to preachers like Rob himself or Terry or others - but in one of Rob's messages, he made a comment about Isi and her ministry that I hadn't heard and so over the last few days I've been listening to Fini and Isi on the way to and from work. And how glad I am that I did!

Fini was just closing his message and beginning to minister to people - and he made a comment about the depressed people there. My ears pricked up - because as many know I've struggled with depression over the past few years due to very bad experiences at Acorns Children's Hospice (bullying) and of course Sovereign Grace Ministries and the excommunication. I have always traditionally believed that depression is a "sin" and that it is our sin that is to blame for it and we are somehow failures for not experiencing the joy of the Lord.

Fini however said;

"Depression - you didn't bring this on yourself! This isn't your fault! It isn't due to your sin - your failing. It wasn't something you did! This is the work of the enemy!".

That comment alone brought me such amazing and outstanding joy. And such freedom! If the devil can keep us believing that depression is OUR fault then we are effectively trapped in a vicious circle that is virtually impossible to break out of. But if we can see that actually it is a work of the enemy to blind us from the passionate goodness of God then we can begin to deal with the depressive feelings and recognise them as alien and not of our doing. Suddenly I can see a clear path ahead - that it is not anti-depressants that are the cure but encounters with the living God!

I have never heard any teacher or pastor bring this insight on depression before. Sadly many Christian leaders seem to uncomfortably avoid depression because they do not understand it. I dread to think what many leaders counsel depressed people in their church with when presented with them. Oh that we could hear more leaders grab this insight and agree and begin telling their people that depression is NOT your fault, you are NOT to blame and it is NOT your sin that is the cause of this! How can sin be the cause when it was crucified at the Cross and is now powerless?

Jesus Christ Himself said of His ministry;


Freedom for those who are oppressed and release to the captives! Surely this includes those who suffer with depression!


Sarah said...

I don't think there's enough understanding in the church about depression.I also really struggle to believe that it's not my fault. I think also the expectation is that if you focus on God enough then he will take it away instantly. Sometimes I think God instead takes us on a journey to restoration. A journey I hope I'm on at the moment.

Dan Bowen said...

Hi Sarah, thanks for comment,

Glad it's not just me that struggles to believe it's not my fault! There is indeed far too much expectation in the church that a "quick fix" is expected and if you don't achieve that quick fix then the problem has to be yours.

You're spot on - I think the journey God is taking us on is definately leading in the right direction and this comment really helped!

Jason said...

For me the trigger for depression has mostly been a situation that was too overwhelming. Similar to a mother having baby blues because of the weight of responsibility a new child brings. Once the overwhelming feelings set in my sleep is disturbed or non existant and then the body takes a knock which leads to prolonged depression. I often feel God is saying to me during those times to literally not think. To empty myself and rest in Him. In time it gets better or sometimes suddenly when a realisation comes. However, I must say they I don't class myself as someone that suffers from depression so this may not be helpful to someone that is depressed without a known trigger.