By Elizabeth Prata
How are you coping, my sisters? This is going on a while longer than we would like or hope, right? We received word yesterday from our Governor here in Georgia that school is closed for the rest of the year. Many people had an emotional reaction to that news, including me, so I wrote the essay The Grief of an Unsaid Goodbye, and then escaped to my bed for the night.
I am reminded of Elijah, one moment victorious and bold, the next, running in fear and depressed, laying down to die.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” (1 Kings 19:4)
Also Hagar, running away and depressed and out of energy to cope, sat down in the wilderness to die. David struggled and was honest about his anguish, loneliness, and other emotions. Jeremiah lived with despair, and he wasn’t allowed to even marry, so he carried those feelings alone, expressing them to God by himself. Hannah was so depressed over her lack of child-bearing and enduring Peninnah’s constant barbs that Hannah wept and would not eat. (1 Samuel 1:7). Jonah, Moses, Job…all struggled with dejection, anxiety, depression of some sort or another. So you are not a failure if you feel any of those things.
I pray that if you’re feeling depressed or anxious, that any of these following resources help you.
These 3 authors are trustworthy in my opinion. Powlison, who recently passed away from cancer, was a Christian Counselor.
1. Found: God’s Peace: Experience True Freedom from Anxiety in Every Circumstance, by John MacArthur Jr. Booklet. Available on Amazon
2. Precious Truths in Practice: Holding Fast to God When You Are Overwhelmed, by Martha Peace. Book. Available on Amazon.
3. Overcoming Anxiety: Relief for Worried People, by David Powlison. Booklet. Available at Biblical Counseling Books. Only 99 cents’ shipping, too!
I also can recommend a few more that don’t directly deal with anxiety but because they point to scripture or Christ, they will hopefully penetrate the cloud that may be hanging over your head or darkening your heart.
God’s Promise of Happiness, by Randy Alcorn. Booklet.
Can I have Joy in My Life? by RC Sproul. Booklet.
Stress: Peace amid Pressure. by David Powlison. Booklet.
Behind a Frowning Providence, by John J. Murray. Booklet.
Love Came Down at Christmas, by Sinclair Ferguson. Book. It might seem strange I put a book about advent in a list of helpful resources for anxiety, but the sheer joy of the advent and Ferguson’s relentless pointing to Christ does help clear the clouds.
Helpful essays, sermons or lectures:
Alistair Begg: Sermons on Worry and Anxiety:
- A Biblical Approach to Anxiety (1 Peter 5:7)
- Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-41)
- So Do Not Fear (Isaiah 41:10)
- Peace — Part Two (Galatians 5:22)
- A Failure of Nerve (Genesis 12:10-20)
- All Your Anxiety (The Cove) (1 Peter 5:7)
And more at the link
Desiring God: (Essay) How to fight for faith in the dark
Spurgeon sermon-essay, .pdf: “The Saddest Cry of the Cross“. Excerpt:
Another lesson is that if ever you and I should feel that we are forsaken of God—if we should get into this state in any way, remember that we are only where Christ has been before us. If ever, in our direst extremity, we should be compelled to cry, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” we shall have gone down no deeper than Christ Himself went. He knows that feeling, and that state of heart, for He has felt the same.
This fact should tend greatly to cheer you. Your deep depression is not a proof of reprobation; that is evident, for Christ Himself endured even more. A man may say, “I cannot be a child of God, or else I should not feel as I do.” Ah! You do not know what true children of God may feel; strange thoughts pass through their minds in times of storm and doubt.
A Puritan preacher was standing by the deathbed of one of his members who had been for thirty years in gloom of soul. The good old minister expected that the man would get peace at last, for he had been an eminent Christian, and had greatly rejoiced in his Savior; but, for thirty years or more, he had fallen into deep gloom. The minister was trying to speak a word of comfort to him, but the man said, “Ah, sir! But what can you say to a man who is dying, and yet who feels that God has forsaken him?”
The pastor replied, “But what became of that Man who died, whom God really did forsake? Where is HE now?” The dying man caught at that, and said, “He is in glory, and I shall be with Him; I shall be with Him where He is.” And so the light came to the dying man who had been so long in the dark; He saw that Christ had been just where he was, and that he should be where Christ was, even at the right hand of the Father.
I hope, brothers and sisters, that you will never get down so low as that; but I beseech you, if you ever meet with any others who are there, do not be rough with them. Some strong-minded people are very apt to be hard upon nervous folk, and to say, “They should not get into that state.” And we are liable to speak harshly to people who are very depressed in spirit, and say to them, “Really, you ought to rouse yourself out of such a state.” I hope none of you will ever have such an experience of this depression of spirit as I have had; yet I have learned from it to be very tender with all fellow sufferers. The Lord have mercy on them, and help them out of the Slough of Despond; for, if He does not, they will sink in deep mire, where there is no standing.
I pray any of this may help you in your dark time of need!
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NAS).