Perhaps it comes as no surprise to most of us that even dedicated Christians find themselves subject to depression, sorrow, and shame. What’s more, the burden of guilt for feeling depressed, sorrowful, and ashamed is often worse than the feelings themselves. After all, aren’t Christians supposed to be the happiest people on earth? Based on God’s Word we can be confident that Jesus has set us free from sin and released us into a new life permeated with His Presence. By His Holy Spirit, He is readily available to us — as near to us as the breath we breathe.
Yet somehow, many of us labor under an all-too-familiar shroud of sorrow and shame that we cannot seem to shake. In fact, we tend to think that that sorrow or shame is part of who we are, our cross to bear, our thorn in the flesh. As such, we endeavor to simply cope with the heaviness and own it as our just due, as something unchangeable this side of heaven.
However, that shroud is a cloak of death thrown over us by the enemy of our souls. His goal is to choke off the joy God has made available to us and to blind us to God’s perspective on our lives. The enemy blankets us in darkness and hopelessness; he loves to convince us that his heaviness is, in reality, part of who we are, a part we are powerless to change.
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He called him forth from death into life. Lazarus emerged from the grave; however, he was still clothed in the grave clothes in which he had been wrapped prior to burial. Jesus instructed Lazarus’s friends and family to remove the grave clothes and let him go (see John 11). Sometimes I think I neglect to ask others to help me remove the shrouds that the enemy persists in tossing over me. I think I should be able to toss them off by myself — which I only rarely am able to do! Often, I muddle through a week or so without recognizing that the shroud is NOT part of me, my personality, or my calling. It is a dark cloak of death that suffocates everything the Lord has breathed into me!
Jesus, help us to speak life to one another and remove the shrouds of futility, hopelessness, depression, sorrow, fear, and shame that so readily block our vision and drag us down. We choose to step out from under the heaviness of those grave clothes and into Your marvelous light! Thank You for delivering us from the undertow of our past and the dark thoughts that would like to chain us to darkness. You are truly our Deliverer! Empower us to shed the shroud and to yank it off one another! Thank You for Your resuscitation station that enables me to shed the shroud of darkness and shun the shame! You are glorious and full of hope, and I thank You for Your light and life that conquers every shred of darkness!
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5 NLT)