Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘downcast’

Brokenhearted–But God Wants To Heal It

SOURCE:  John Eldredge

We All Are the Brokenhearted

When Isaiah promised that the Messiah will come to heal the brokenhearted, he was not speaking poetically.

The Bible does use metaphor, as when Jesus says, “I am the gate” (John 10:9). Of course, he is not an actual gate like the kind you slammed yesterday; he has no hinges on his body, no knob you turn. He is using metaphor.

But when Isaiah talks about the brokenhearted, God is not using metaphor. The Hebrew isleb shabar (leb for “heart,” shabar for “broken”). Isaiah uses the word shabar to describe a bush whose “twigs are dry, they are broken off ” (27:11); to describe the idols of Babylon lying “shattered on the ground” (21:9), as a statue shatters into a thousand pieces when you knock it off the table; or to describe a broken bone (38:13). God is speaking literally here. He says, “Your heart is now in many pieces. I want to heal it.”

The heart can be broken-literally.

Just like a branch or a statue or a bone. Can you name any precious thing that can’t?

Certainly, we’ve seen that the mind can be broken-or what are all those mental institutions for? Most of the wandering, muttering “homeless” people pushing a shopping cart along have a broken mind.

The will can be broken too. Have you seen photos of concentration camp prisoners? Their eyes are cast down; something in them is defeated. They will do whatever they are told.

But somehow we have overlooked the fact that this treasure called the heart can also be broken, has been broken, and now lies in pieces down under the surface. When it comes to “habits” we cannot quit or patterns we cannot stop, anger that flies out of nowhere, fears we cannot overcome, or weaknesses we hate to admit-much of what troubles us comes out of the broken places in our hearts crying out for relief.

Jesus speaks as though we are all the brokenhearted. We would do well to trust his perspective on this.

(Waking the Dead , 131-34)

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A Prayer for Serving Our Friends Who Struggle with Depression

SOURCE:  Scotty Smith

  Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Ps. 43:5

Heavenly Father, today my heart goes out, and my prayers reach up, on behalf of those who struggle with depression, in one of its many forms. I have friends who live all along the axis from mild melancholy to the relentless pangs of suicidal depression. And my family tree has roots in clinical depression—with many loved ones who’ve struggled with emotional fracture and darkness as a way of life. Father of mercies, grant all of us greater compassion and wisdom for loving those whose mental health is under siege.

Thank you for rescuing me from simplistic views of depression. It’s not as simple a condition as I used to think. I grieve the ways I used to counsel the depressed, and it saddens me to realize how much pressure I put on them get better and “get over it.” Happiness is not always simply a choice.

David asked the right question in a season of duress: “Why, my soul, are you downcast?” (Ps. 43:5). Indeed, Father, what are the various reasons for a downcast, disturbed soul, and what does hoping in you look like for each?

Father, for friends who are depressed for no other reason than living with a graceless, gospel-less heart; keep them miserable until they rest in the finished work of your Son, Jesus. May they despair of their own unrighteousness and their “wannabe” righteousness, until they are driven to the righteousness that only comes from faith in Jesus. Sometimes misery is a great mercy.

Father, for friends who suffer from depression generated by chemical complexities, lead them to the right kind of medical care. And help us in the community of faith to be patient and understanding of the complexities involved in their care. The risk of abusing medications is always there, so give us wisdom.

Father, for friends who suffer from depression fueled by the demonic, grant me humility and wisdom. A part of me doesn’t even want to acknowledge that this is an issue at all, but how can I read your Word and dismiss the demonic so lightly? His condemning, blaming, and shaming voice, alone is enough to generate the deepest forms of darkness and a disconnected self. Yet his schemes are multiple (2 Cor. 2:11). Show us, in the Body of Christ, how are we to care for those under the spell and sway of our cross-defeated, fury-filled foe (Rev. 12:12).

Father, for those of us whose downcast-ness is little more than the fruit of blocked goals, idol failures, self-pity or the consequence of our own disobedience, smite us, yet again with the gospel. May we cry, “Uncle!”, that we might cry, “Abba!”

By your great and sufficient grace, I make King David’s affirmation mine. I do and I will yet praise you, my Savior and my God. My hope is in you, Father—for me and for all of my brokenhearted downcast friends. The gospel will win the day. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ compassionate and victorious name.

Bruised and Mutilated by Sin

The Bruised Reed

SOURCE:  John Macduff (by Deejay O’Flaherty)

“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”  Isaiah 42:3

When a human soul is bruised and mutilated by sin, He (God) casts it not away. He repairs it for its place in the heavenly instrument, and makes it once more to show forth His praise.

Look at David, the Psalmist of Israel.

Who more a “bruised reed” than he?

God had inspired his soul—made it a many-stringed instrument in discoursing His praise; but now it lay a broken mutilated thing, with the stain of crimson guilt upon it, tuneless and mute. “I kept silence,” says he; “my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me, my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”

Does Jehovah desert him?—does He cast the reed away and seek to replace the void by another, worthier and better? Does He mock the cry of penitential sorrow as through anguished tears that stricken one thus implored forgiveness—”Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness, according to the multitude of Your tender mercies blot out my transgressions”?

No.

Hear him detail his own experience—”I acknowledged my sin to You, and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” And then he takes up the re-tuned instrument, and sings for the encouragement of others—”Let everyone who is godly pray to You while You may be found.”

In the case of some aromatic plants, it is when bruised they give forth the sweetest fragrance; so it is often the soul crushed with a sense of guilt which sends forth the sweetest aroma of humility, gratitude, and love.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

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Macduff, John Ross, a Presbyterian minister, was born at Bonhard, near Perth, Scotland, May 23, 1818, and educated at the high school of Edinburgh and in the university of the same city. He became a minister of the Church of Scotland in 1842. Among his pastorates was one of fifteen years in the city of Glasgow. In 1871 Dr. Macduff gave up the pastoral relation. He is the author of a number of volumes in prose and poetry, some of which have great practical and devotional value and have a wide circulation. Most of his hymns appeared in his Altar Stones, 1853, and in The Gates of Praise, 1876. He died April 30, 1895. The Universities of Glasgow and of New York each conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

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