Read: Leviticus 19:1-20:21, Mark 8:11-38, Psalm 42:1-11, Proverbs 10:17
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!
Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you.”
Relate: The sun is shining today. It is amazing what a little sunshine can do. I got used to seeing the sun pretty much every day when I was in Antep, but in Binghamton… it is a rare thing to get so much sunshine in the winter. I’ve heard rumors that the sky around here is blue, but I actually see the thing rarely enough that those rumors can’t be confirmed or denied. One thing I have noticed today is how cheerful everyone seems to be. There’s an NA group that meets at the church and most often they just walk into their meeting heads down ignoring everyone with maybe a grumbled “hello” if you’re lucky. There are guys working construction next door turning that building from a rectory into what will be a woman’s shelter and addiction recovery center. The last few days, some of those guys were a half step from being at each other’s throats. Today, everyone’s laughing, smiling, joking around, and getting along great. It is amazing how a little sunshine can change a person’s personality.
It is amazing also how a good night’s sleep (or lack thereof) can do the same. According to a Harvard medical study, 65-90 percent of all those suffering from chronic depression are sleep deprived. Once upon a time, they believed that poor sleep was a result of chronic depression but more and more they are coming around to the idea that the lack of sleep is the cause, rather than the effect, of chronic depression. Some have argued that getting a person on a consistent schedule including 8+ hours of sleep a night is far more effective than any amount of counseling could ever be.
React: If a little sleep and a little sunshine can so drastically improve our mental health, then a little willpower can do the same. Now, this isn’t for everybody. I know that there are legitimate reasons both biologically and situationally for someone to be depressed. If you have a legitimate medical condition or if the medication you are taking to combat their cancer or other serious illness causes depression then what I am about to say isn’t for you. If your best friend or parent died in the past few days, or if you came home yesterday to find the dog who has been your companion since childhood dead, then this isn’t for you.
To the rest of us, if you are depressed… get over it. That is exactly what the Psalmist is saying to us. This son of Korah was being mocked and taunted by his enemies. They were out to get him and it really got him down. Rather than go to a “safe space” on campus, they found their “safe space” in Christ. Rather than go cry in a corner and then demand that Disney fire that actress with the Twitter post they do not like, they took the issue up with God. Over and over again in this Psalm, we hear, “Why so sad, oh my soul? Put your hope in God.” If the clouds have got you down… look higher. If circumstances have you flustered… look to the Sovereign One. If your sleeplessness has you sulking… find your rest in Him. As Mark Batterson said, “We are not responsible for what happens to us in life. But we are response-able.” God has given us comeback DNA. Life might get us down for a moment, but let’s shake it off and step up.
I am leaving Binghamton at midnight tonight and flying out of NYC tomorrow. I won’t be able to post for the next few days because I am returning to Turkey even though they kicked me out this past fall. Please pray for safe travels, and that I will be able to stay once I land, and that God will continue to do a good work there no matter what happens with me. I’ll see you on the other side.
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3 thoughts on “A Little Sunshine”
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Good stuff. And safe travels brother.
This may not be for some people, but it was definitely for me. May the Lord fulfill His purposes during your trip.