Chapter Four - The After Christmas Blahs
Someone said during the last Christmas season that the few days be fore the great event they were anxious and living with anticipation. They were excited, and all lifted up, BUT later Christmas day, and, especially the day after, they were depressed. All the air had been let out of the inflated Christmas balloon - in short,"the after-Christmas blahs."
Doctors say that there is a lot of illness following-Christmas — not stomach trouble, but mind trouble. I suppose that people have worked so hard making others and themselves so happy that they have made them selves sick.
I once read, "The strain of shopping, wrapping packages, trimming the Christmas tree, preparing for the feasting, and overeating has resulted in colds, hives, ulcers, nervous exhaustion, depression, and other ills. One overwrought mother with a large family said toward the end of the holiday period that their stockings were the only thing that any of her children had hung up. We have reached the pinnacle, and the only way to go is down. Two sentences from God\'s Word are:"...and the angel departed from her." Luke 1:38 "...as the angels were gone away from them." Luke 2:15
The first sentence from God\'s Word relates to the experience of Mary\'s saying to the Lord, "Be it unto me according to Your Word" - and then the angel left. The second sentence is from the experience of the shepherds when they beheld the angels and heard them sing the praise of God. For these shepherds, the good news which they had heard and the beautiful music which they had heard were now gone - with the angels. They had left the shepherds alone. This says to us that life has, as well as its moments of illumination and mountain-top experiences, its moments of the valleys and moments of living in the clouds.
But Psalm 48:5 reads: "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disqujeted in me?" Then a prescription: "Trust, hope in God..."
I want to write about some kinds of clouds.
I. CLOUDS OF BLUES
What do you do when you are "blue"? Some sing; some pray; some read the Bible. Others, in various ways, acknowledge the spirit-presence of God. The definition I like of the"blues"from Webster is "Low spirits, a fit of melancholy."
The reading of Psalm 34 or of Isaiah 40 has been a great source of comfort to many. These are excellent selections from the Word of God. Psalm 43:5 records, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God."
I have heard it said that there are two reasons for the "blues." 1. One is because one is not saved. 2. One is because one who is converted is living in sin. I DO NOT BUY THIS AT ALL. I have known many a Christian who had "blue fever." I, for one, have had the fever - in fact, I have it every now and then; and I\'m sure of my salvation. I say that one should present his case before Cod. He should talk to God as he would talk to his parents, and with a child-like faith. Perhaps very soon, then the "blue-fever" will drop.
I think it is a comfort to know that in the clouds of blue, God can speak! "What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light." (Matthew 10:27). There are degrees or shades of the blues, if you please. They range from the shade of light blue to the shade of dark blue. They range from the shade of after-Christmas blues to the shades of bereavement to the shades of "blueness" caused by being lonely or ill. In all of these, God can speak.
"Then He Cells us His secrets, great and wonderful, eternal and in finite; He causes the eye to become dazzled, and the ear to detect the undertones of His voice, which is often drowned amid the tumult of earth\'s cries," one has written.
We have not been made to live always in the shadows of the blues. But if we are in such a state, we must blend it in with God\'s Spirit. Let the wind of God\'s Spirit drive the clouds of blues away.
II. Clouds 0f Depression
Depression - when one is virtually flattened. This is the lowering of one\'s spirit - it is ceiling zero. This is when we need to hear echoing throughout our heart-house the words in Ephesians 3:16. "That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man."
People like Job, Jonah, and Micah experienced these clouds. I am sure that Moses on Mt. Sinai experienced such as he came down and saw the drunken revelry in the camp. He was depressed! I am sure Jesus was depressed over His followers\' forsaking Him during His trial, but, upon the cross, He felt the relief of accomplishment. I am sure that Peter, James, and John with their Mount of Transfiguration experienced this when, from the calling of fire from heaven one day, they were, several days later, running for their lives.
Lord Byron: "When you think everything is hopeless, a little ray of light comes from somewhere." Where? It comes from your mind! God is within you. To acknowledge this is to provide an avenue of approach. This ray of help can then come and aid you in your depression.
III. Clouds of Discouragement
"Fear not, neither be discouraged." (Deut. 1:21) There are so many clouds of discouragement "Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was." (Ex. 20:21). This says to me that in the darkness - in the clouds of our living, God is. God can reveal treasures in the darkness. So, don\'t be afraid of darkness when it comes. God is in it!
Clouds of discouragement can cause one to rise to God. A minister, one day, was atop one of the peaks of the Rocky Mountains. He was high enough to be above the clouds that day. Suddenly there shot up out of the clouds a beautiful eagle. The moisture of the rain was still on his feathers, and the rays of the sun made them glisten like great diamonds. From the darkness into the light-- we can rise up with the wings of an eagle to God.
Let Elihu speak (Job 37:21): "And now men see not the bright Light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them." God says, "I do set My bow in the clouds." Through them we rise up. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles..." (Isa. 40:31.)
There are perils to a Christian when in this type cloud. The perils are that they cannot resist the attraction and assaults of the Devil, and then they are not in a position to pray for others.
IV. Clear Sky 0f Relief
When one is wise enough to get near God, near Him, then there is strength given. One is strengthened. Look for the silver lining. "They looked.. .and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud." (Exodus 16:10).
I once read about a prairie eagle that was mortally wounded by a rifle shot. "His eye still gleamed like a circle of light. Then he slowly turned his head, and gave one more searching, longing look at the sky. He had often swept those starry spaces with his wonderful wings. The beautiful sky was the home of his heart. It was the eagle\'s domain. A thousand times he had exploited there his splendid strength. In those far-away heights he had played with the lightnings and raced with the winds; and now, so far away from home, forgotten, he had flown too low."
"The soul is that eagle. This is not its home. It must not lose the skyward look. We must keep faith; we must keep hope; we must keep courage; we must keep Christ. We had better creep away from the battle field at once if we are not going to be brave. There is no time for the soul to stampede. Keep the skyward look." Yes, keep the skyward look - this gives us the sky of clear hope. ..relief.
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. ...east down, but not destroyed." (II Corinthians 4:8-9). "Be content with what you have, for He said, \'I will never leave you nor forsake you. ..The Lord is my helper." (Hebrews 13:5,6).
When you feel blue, depressed, discouraged,. get relief fast. THINK YOURSELF INTO GOD. Develop the assurance that will, yes, transfer you from the world of time and space into the Kingdom. Develop a way, via Some of the suggestions in this chapter that come from the Scripture to begin to get rid of that which causes you to be less than you could, by God\'s help, be. Ephesians 3 tells us that "He strengthens.,. .with might by His Spirit in the inner man." Jesus can do much for the one who will believe Him.
The prescription that is given by many ministers - which needs no improvement - suggests that we think about God for several minutes every day--that we read some from the Old and some from the New Testament. Many have found a great deal of comfort and help from one of the Psalms and from the Gospels. Another help is to go to Church--to become identified with Cod\'s people. Your going to Church shows the world on Whose side you are. Further, give to the Lord\'s program through a local Church, and then do something for someone else.
You were not made nor meant for the clouds. You were not meant for the shadows always; you were made to reflect the light of the world--Jesus. So, amid the experiences of life, "When the angels depart," you can be lifted by the confident assurance of the presence of God. He said, "I\'ll never Leave you."
Perhaps things are going well for you now; but there could come, and sooner than expected, sometimes, the end of the heavenly music and the glorious adventures. Thus, when they are taken away, you will be by yourself. ..but not really. God is right beside you. Why not acknowledge Him?
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