I am sick of the rain. In know we are supposed to receive God’s blessings with joy, but as of today I guess I am overwhelmed by God’s blessing! Yesterday I heard a report on the news addressing the problem of Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. The Mayo Clinic diagnoses the problem this way:
“Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you’re like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.”
When I lived in Silverton, Co they called it Cabin Fever. The reason for Cabin Fever was that a person who stayed cooped up during snow season and never saw the light of day would begin to shut down physically, mentally and emotionally. (Ever see The Shining with Jack Nicholson – an extreme example!) People suffering from SAD often present symptoms such as:
- Loss of energy
- Heavy, “leaden” feeling
- Social withdrawal
People who are suffering from SAD are encouraged to do one simple thing: get out in the sun as often and as much as possible (something we have not had a lot of lately!) I witnessed this in Silverton during the winter months. A gold mine operated there and during the winter the men and women who worked the straight day shift would sometimes go as long as a month without sunlight (the occasional day off for them would often be filled with snow showers). During that time they would be disconnected, sometimes jumpy even at a simple, “hello” and in most every way cease to be themselves. But as the time changed and they could enjoy a few daylight hours, they would change back into their usual jovial and happy selves. All because they could enjoy a little sunlight.
We all know Christians – genuine Christ-followers – who suffer from a spiritual form of SAD. For one reason of another they have removed themselves from the light of Christ – and their light begins to dim to the point of spiritual depression. They find themselves suffering from:
- Spiritual Depression. This may be overcome by remembering Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” You are never alone; God is always with you and He IS The Light.
- Spiritual Hopelessness. The may be overcome by remembering upon what faith is established. Look at Hebrews 6:18b-20b, “we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever,” Our hope is in Christ, who has gone before us and is our priest before God, pleading our every need. Again our hope is found in The Light.
- Spiritual anxiety. We sometimes feel as though we are failing or will fail in the way that we follow Jesus. Find healing rays of light in the prayer of Jesus, 31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus is praying that you may not fail. That should bring great warmth to your soul! Stand in The Light of the prayers Jesus offers for YOU!
- Spiritual exhaustion and “heaviness.” We sometimes find ourselves believing that we are the only ones fighting the good fight; that we have been abandoned by every one around us. Or we just reach the point of wanting to give up because our discipleship seems futile and at best unrewarding. Elijah was where you may be. He feared for his life and just knew that he was the only one left who believed in God. You may be searching for a word from God and, as Elijah; you may need to listen for a whisper. The word for God to Elijah is the same word for you: you have work left to do and you’re not alone, so get up and get moving! Receive direction from the Word of God – the Light to the world. (1 Kings 19:10-18)
- Spiritual withdrawal from the family of faith. Often, when a person feels spiritually depressed, they withdraw from fellowship with other believers. “Listen to this from 2 Corinthians 13, 11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” It is the last thing that we have that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: restore one another; encourage one another; be of one mind (the mind of Christ – 1 Cor. 2:16); live in peace. If you have pulled away from the family of faith, let the Light of Christ that is in them draw you back.
Don’t be SAD; be GLAD – God’s Life Adorning my Day. That’s a good day!