The Gospel Is Full Of Hope by Dale McCamish
Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones published twenty-one sermons on spiritual depression in 1965. His well-rounded approach to depression and how he used Scripture to help us understand and work through our “dark days of discouragement” is still helpful today. He was one of the first preachers I ever heard about rightly advocating that sometimes God answers our prayers for help through the use of doctors and medicine. He, also, was one of the first preachers, to note that Christ followers don’t all have the same temperament, and we are not all made the same. I love his interpretation of Mark chapter eight describing how Jesus heals a man who was blind, but does so in stages. It has been helpful for my own faith to know that sometimes Christ heals us in stages instead of all at once.
For your downcast days, I encourage you to pray and seek out God’s healing. Of course, and I also recommend seeing a doctor if you battle discouragement and depression frequently. Finding the right doctor and the right medication to get you through is sometimes the answer to prayer you’ve been seeking.
Might I also recommend you try using the Gospel of Jesus Christ to lift your spirits? In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit laid out the Gospel as it had been handed down to him: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive….in fact Christ has been raised from the dead….so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Then comes the end, when [Jesus] delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15
I love how Paul lays out a more detailed Gospel than we may be used to hearing. And it is within this Gospel where we can find four areas of comfort when we are downcast. The early church was clear that Jesus should be seen as the “suffering, saving, ruling, and judging” Lord and Savior.
First, it has helped me when I have been discouraged to meditate on the suffering of our Lord. He was wounded so He understands my loss, pain, and my own wounds. And even though He doesn’t always heal me on my timetable, because He rose from the dead, I know that He can and will heal me when His time is right. I can trust Him with the timing to not only heal my broken heart, but also to make everything right.
Second, my Lord is saving. Christ died for my sins. His punishment and sacrifice covered over my sins and paid the penalty I owed. His blood removes my guilt and sets me free to truly live–no longer enslaved to sin. And through his death, I not only am declared not guilty by God but God heals my sin sickness as well. And when Jesus rose from the dead He proved it was all true! Not only was I declared right with God, but I was made new and given a place in the family of God. I find great hope with my new identity in Jesus Christ as a child of God.
And it is in this New Kingdom, that thirdly, I now live with Jesus as my King. The way of Jesus is better than anything else the earth offers, and though Jesus is patient now, there is a day coming soon, when he will destroy every work of Satan and get rid of all the depression, destruction, pain, and sadness–including death. By living spiritually in this New Kingdom, now, I can enjoy the way of God even before the Kingdom has completely arrived. The tension of living in the “now, but not yet” Kingdom of God is good and continually builds my expectation that the day of the Lord is on its way.
Last, when Jesus does come back, He comes back for good and will judge all the earth and every person. It is at this moment that He will make all things new. And bring complete justice. He will right every wrong and make right every loss. And everything that we have sacrificed for in the name of Jesus will be given back to us–but we will have gained even more than we have lost.
The Gospel of Jesus is rich and full of hope. And sometimes…most times…all times, it is just what I need to focus my heart on when I am discouraged or depressed.
Jesus is still inviting us to join in with Him and His Kingdom. He is still inviting us into the healing that only He can give. And He is still inviting us to turn to Him and away from all that world offers, because what He has the world cannot give: peace. Knowing and embracing Jesus of the Gospel can give you peace.
Before Jesus went to the cross He is recorded saying these words for us to think on and believe: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.'” John 14:27-28
I’d like the opportunity to tell you more about this peace that only Jesus can offer. Feel free to Private Message me or ask a question in the comment section below. I want you to have the same peace that I have in Jesus Christ. Let me know you’re looking for peace and our church will help you take your next best step toward knowing Jesus and the peace He offers.