True Peace

Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I have battled some kind of low-level depression or anxiety ever since I can remember. Perhaps it began with the concussion I received playing soccer in the eighth grade. Who knows? Thirty years later, after I recovered from that other soccer injury, I noticed a dramatic decrease in serious bouts of depression. I wondered if, somehow, my blood chemistry had been altered in a positive way.

Today, I had a sudden rush of anxiety, triggered by a very small setback… car trouble. But, it seems that I was carrying around quite a bit of worry and concern for a lot of friends and family… serious troubles or situations they are facing. I felt like, if I heard about one more heartbreak or distress…

Denise wasn’t home tonight and I needed to study a few points for my study in The Apocalypse or Revelation, so I got into the Bible and my “silent wise counselors,” my books and commentaries. What a wonderful tonic for the heart! I am amazed at how this study has affected my soul, giving me a greater sense of God’s majesty and His love for me. The letter to the Christians at Smyrna reminded me that suffering is “the norm” for the followers of Jesus in this world.

Jesus told the church in Smyrna, “I know your afflictions and your poverty — yet you are rich! Revelation 2:9

I needed to be reminded of that. Polycarp, a friend of John the apostle, would later serve as an elder at Smyrna, where he would be put to death for his faith. It was good to be reminded that my troubles are small and my cares are few, compared to those who have gone before. And, Jesus has been faithful to them and me. When faced with the prospect of death, Polycarp made a touching confession:

But when the magistrate pressed him hard and said, ‘Swear the oath, and I will release thee; revile the Christ,’ Polycarp said, ‘Fourscore and six years have I been His servant, and He hath done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?’ From The Martyrdom of Polycarp

At two score and ten years, I must also confess that my King has “…done me no wrong…” He has overcome the world, so I can be of good cheer.

10 Comments

  1. roz said:

    hey bo, I never got to see 12yearoldish bo!

    August 17, 2005
    Reply
  2. said:

    Hey Bo,

    Good post. I too have been dealing with anxiety lately and it does always come down to turning to Jesus for a good reality check.

    It’s good to remember how God would not deny us when faced with the cross. In that light how can we deny him?

    August 18, 2005
    Reply
  3. Anonymous said:

    nice pic of the bonfire there, bo, is that a klansman i see rising out of it?

    August 18, 2005
    Reply
  4. Anonymous said:

    hey vance ya got a hood?

    August 18, 2005
    Reply
  5. Michele said:

    Don’t take this wrong, Bo, but I’ve always thought it was cool you struggled with depression. So many I know who have this same thorn use it to justify their sin or dependence on drugs and counseling. I’m not trying to sound like Tom Cruise, sometimes these things are useful, but not to the degree and industry we’ve made them. You’re a good example of someone who has a struggle many have but you work to “take captive every thought” and don’t seperate from or sin against those who love you most when being buffeted.
    Remember what our friend and brother said, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Trust in God.” John 13:24 He said this after he admitted himself, “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” John12:27 It is not a sin to have a “troubled” or depressed, distressed heart, our Lord did. But, we need to follow His cue, and in the midst of it, remember that this “hour” is our moment to turn to the Father and say, “Glorify your name.”
    I think “Anonymous'” comments are weird and I don’t get them. Is he trying to be funny or mean?

    August 19, 2005
    Reply
  6. said:

    thank goodness for drugs and counseling because without those, I don’t know how my brother/Bo’s bro-in-law would survive otherwise (bi polar)

    August 19, 2005
    Reply
  7. Anonymous said:

    since when did jesus go into the psychatry business?

    August 19, 2005
    Reply
  8. said:

    Well, Roz… I hope you’re happy now.

    Michelle, it’s comforting to know that you like me depressed 🙂

    Diane / Michele The topic of drugs and counseling is always pretty hot. When I was about 20, I had a severe bout with depression (exacerbated by near heat stroke and insomnia :-). I went to my doctor — our family pediatrician! It was a turning point in my life… he was ahead of his time, as far as therapy, stressing personal responsibility and tough love. He looked me straight in the eye, man-to-man, and said, “Bo, it’s time to grow up.” I can’t tell you how far that went to have a man I respected and looked up to all my life tell me that… It was kind of like a slap (“Thanks… I needed that!) It was also good to know that I had a problem… since that time, whenever I’m getting really depressed, it helps to know that my “default” is anxiety and depression – it’s not a shock or surprise. I can stop, take an inventory and realize I really have nothing to be depressed about. Then, I just sort of tough it out. Of course, others have more severe problems.

    When I began counseling other people, I was influenced quite a bit by Jay Adams and what he says seems to match my own observations, my own “anecdotal evidence.” When it comes to troubled individuals, he writes, “Apart from organically generated difficulties, the ‘mentally ill’ are really people with unsolved personal problems.” Their problem “…is autogenic; it is in themselves.”

    There are plenty of people with emotional problems, stemming from some organic malfunction, who can benefit from therapeutic drugs. Like everything else in the US, the problem is that everything is so available, so plentiful and prescribed as a matter of course. I’ve seen good, solid Biblical counseling go a long way in substantially helping even the most bizarre people.

    Anyway… enough of that… there’s tons of literature on the subject.

    August 19, 2005
    Reply
  9. I’ve always found that when I get blue, I need to get physically active. There’s like a good sweat to work off the blues.

    August 20, 2005
    Reply
  10. Anonymous said:

    hey vance, why don’t you use your real name, too ashamed of it? 😉

    August 21, 2005
    Reply

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