Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Temporary Deflation

Have you ever had one of those days when worries and fears about a host of different things all sort of coalesce into a black hole in your mind? Well, I had one of those kind of days yesterday.

I surely wasn't looking for trouble. It was a normal day, but I guess my trouble started because I consumed more than my usual amount of "news and information" coming in through the media and my trusty computer. By looking at news sites and blogs on my computer, reading the daily paper and listening to a bit of a few radio talk shows, I quite by chance collected a tidy little pile of smoldering information about what a terribly fallen world we live in.

Not any of these stories by themselves were things I hadn't heard before, or are even worth specific mention here. Suffice to say that they were stories demonstrating how far the world has gone from the teachings of Christ, and how the world holds the things of God in contempt -- in Hollywood, in Washington, D.C., in our nation's courts and schools, and among some worldly, super-tolerant, so-called "Christian" clergy.

Again, it was nothing I hadn't heard before, but somehow the sheer number of stories, or maybe the unwavering philosophical agreement in all the stories, caused my soul to reach some sort of critical mass of despair. I allowed myself to doubt there was much of a point in continuing the good fight here, and concluded that the salvation of the Earth was a bit of a lost cause. I began having that delicious recurring daydream of mine, about me and all my fellow believers relocating to a peaceful, private island somewhere, devoid of worldly strife and unbelief. I wanted to be like the singer of Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World," whose desire was to "throw away the cars and the bars and the wars, and make sweet love to you."

Have you had days like that?

Of course, as I was spiraling down, rubbing my palms together and getting ready for a good session of depression and self-pity, I recalled one verse from the Bible that served as a reminder to my fevered brain:
"In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Another verse was lovingly put into my mind, the one which tells us that Jesus is not necessarily going to win any popularity contests or cause a big worldwide, hand-holding rendition of "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing":
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man's enemies will be the members of his own household." (Matthew 10:34-36)
And then, as if to supplement those Bible verses, I happened (quite by accident?) to come across some quotes from famous Christians shooting down any defense of a retreat to the peaceful island:
"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest expression every portion of the truth of God, except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I might be confessing Christ."

--Martin Luther
"When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith."

--Abraham Kuyper
"Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you. What people don't realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross."

--Flannery O'Connor
Well, all of this was what I needed, if not what I welcomed. It rattled my brain back into realizing that events down here are not eternal truths, and that one day all this will fade away. But it also convicted me of how little I am doing to "push back against the age."

I'm still not totally out of my funk today -- I'm not sure I'm meant to be just yet, since it has caused me to think about some things I was blissfully ignoring just days before. So bear with me if I don't have a humorous post for awhile (although I know that soon I must tell my lion story because some of you have asked nicely for it).

Again I ask, do any of you have days like this from time to time? I'd be interested in hearing about how you met your doubts and fears.


Stacy said...

Lots of those days. When you see the world around us you can't help but feel that way from time to time. My mother purschased me several C.S. Lewis books recently and I've been reading those. He always has this way of setting me straight.

EmmaSometimes said...

I am a bit of a simpleton when it comes to issues today. I cannot and will not ignore them but I can only do what God has for me to do. Any thing else is worry..taking on responsibility that already belongs to God.

I read a lot of Lewis, Tozer, Watchman Nee, Stanley but the greatest comforts I find are in the Word.

So finally, and my point, is that you are feeling down from the news reports that are generated by anti-biblical and biased media that make all attempts to omit Godliness and morality for the sake of being politically correct? Sometimes all you need is to ask God for a better perspective.

I have had days. I recall feeling the same sort of empty and frustrated in seeing a family member flatly deny wrong doing and standing for blatent sin. How I felt; it was a lost cause and 'could care less' if they turned into a pillar of salt. As you can see, God is working more grace and less 'prophet' into me. :o)

The whole entire message of salvation is that God can save anyone, at any time. He prepares their hearts for the right time and in this case, many hearts.

Does that make sense?

Jenn said...

Interesting, I read that part of Matthew 10 this morning. I deliberately try to avoid too much bad news because I will get depressed at the drop of a hat. I was home with the news on all week of the hurricame Katrina reports, and I was a miserable mess.

Overanalyzing it makes it worse for me. Just trust God and trust that your mood will change eventually if you give it some time and don't let it spiral in the wrong direction.

Muley said...

Stacy: I love the writings of C.S. Lewis, too, and they have the same effect on me.

Jennybee: I do need a better perspective. I always end up figuring that out, but sometimes it's hard to let God move me somewhere more positive. Your comments have helped do that.

Jenn: I agree, overanalyzing can be toxic. But my problem many times is the opposite -- sticking my head in the sand. I guess I need a better balance.

sarahgrace said...

Hello- just stopping by and enjoyed your thought provoking post.
I have days like that sometimes as well. (I kind of felt that way after watching the movie CRASH, but then my hubby put things into a better perspective for me.) What I thought was really neat is how God was obviously trying to give you a better perspective by bringing all those verses and quotes into remembrance. I think it is actually really interesting that God seems to use whatever will be the most effective thing in our lives to grab our attention. In your case, verses and quotes and in my case, my husbands point of view.
The more time I've spent thinking about this, the more I realize just how awesome God is.

Jan said...

Oh, yes. I have those days. The Word always turns it around, and often I'm too slow to go there. Sometimes there is a strange comfort in the misery, isn't there? I'm quite sure it is false comfort, but we sometimes like to just wallow in the "depression" for a time. I don't understand THAT at all, but it is surely sinful. As you said, we all need to be doing our part to overcome the evil in this world, and sitting on the bench sulking doesn't do much for the effort.

I'm glad you shared your day. Go read Revelation 4-5, and when Jesus takes the scroll and holds it up, remember the victory. He has overcome.

jenA said...

i think my dad is living this one lately; case in point, he asked me saturday morning if the media were not around, would the world be in the state it is ....
riles me more than a little, but only because it makes me feel as if i bear the burden of others' shortcomings.
bygones. i think conflict fuels faith; if we are placated by government and civil red carpets, and made to feel safe in our religion by having it validated by others, what's to fight for? what's to confirm the omnipotence of our God? He's been made malleable and to be manipulated by mere humans.
my fear is how faith responds to that which offends its sensibilities. how we're going about this all damn wrong.
I don't need the 10 commandments in my courthouse to affirm my belief in following them. They're already in my Bible, and now in my heart. If God's word was not enough, why is a human being's more convincing?
I don't need a mention of God in my pledge to confirm his presence in school or at a ball game (this would be baseball, mind you).
What I want from my nation is acceptance of my beliefs, not sponsorship. If it's sponsored, it's up for renovation. It can be made to suit the agenda of persons with whom I would never theologically jive.
But if it's mine to do with as I please, the burden of the faith journey rests within me.

Carrie said...

Hi Muley,

I wanted to stop over and thank you for your comment on my blog last week. That whole debate has been consuming my thoughts the last few days and at times I felt a bit down as I hate to see Christians stick their heads in the sand but it’s really helped me to evaluate some issues I hadn’t considered before.

Like you, I have had days where the world just makes me want to cry but those times more often now stir me up to fight the battle. People trapped in a lost world are exactly why I need to be out there preaching the truth.

Thanks for the verses and quotes. I needed those today also.