To my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ

Just have had this on my heart tonight to say.  There are some Christians who, I think really believe that being a Christian means having to present a ‘pretty picture’ for people to see as they walk through this life.  Our lives though…they are not all pretty pictures.  Because we have Christ, we are victorious through him…that’s true.  We can have peace that passes understanding, and joy within.  But those things do not mean being problem free, or even without times where we experience various emotions in our lives.  To present an image that we must…it’s deceptive and really, I think, kind of dangerous to Christians, especially newer Christians, who are struggling with things.

Let me give you an example.  Back when I fell back into that depression in the late 80’s, I had  fellow Christian tell me, “If you really knew the Lord, you wouldn’t be going through that!”  It made me really angry when she said it, actually.  You have no idea how hard I was trying to fight that depression.  People would say to me, “You have a terrific husband and 3 beautiful children…what do you have to be unhappy about?”  Um…I knew that.  Did they think they were telling me something I didn’t realize?  And at the time I didn’t understand why God had abandoned me…which is what I thought He had done.  I hadn’t gone anywhere, or strayed from Him.  So why was it happening?  Where was He in the midst?  It was horrible.  In the end, I learned later that He had been with me all that time.  I know now that He allowed me through that to realize that the brain is another organ in the body which can get sick, like the heart, or the kidneys or any organ in the body.  I had been healed miraculously when I accepted the Lord of depression…completely and miraculously.  Then I slipped back into a place that was even worse than before…because I had experienced the great love of God, only to feel abandoned by Him.  But through that I learned I had an illness.  Guess what…Christians can suffer from depression too, as well as other mental illnesses, just like heart attacks, and diabetes.  They’re all illnesses and we’re not immune from them.

Now where depression is concerned, I’m not exactly sure how it all happens.  There were issues that I had to deal with through it as well…those memories and all that came with that.  So where did it become physical?  I don’t know, not being a medical expert myself.  I’m assuming that the negative feelings and emotions attached to whatever the situations are trigger changes in the brain, and then it probably becomes some sort of vicious cycle or something.  I honestly am speculating.  But I do know that after all of that…actually a good while later, I was able to look back and see God having been with me the whole time…see things I learned…see healing that had taken place in my life in ways that wouldn’t have been as valuable without having gone through that, things I had learned about others too, along that path.

Anyway, as Christians, all that stuff we go through becomes our testimony.  Our testimony does not end when we’re saved, with just how God changed us when we accepted Christ.  I believe it continues in the way He continues to be there for us…continues to help us during trials we will inevitably still continue to have.  Because, if you are serving God, or seeking to get nearer to Him…you will most definitely have trials.  If you don’t have trials as a Christian, I wonder about your walk with Christ and how real and devoted you truly are.  The devil isn’t going to mess with those who are no threat.  If you’re not really doing anything toward the kingdom of God, then you’re no threat to him.

And if you are having trials, but feeling somehow that you aren’t supposed to, or that you aren’t supposed to show it…you’re wrong about that too.  You are supposed to carry on and move forward through it…that’s true.  And we have help there, as Christians…so it’ll be to God’s glory and not our own.  But that does not mean pretending it’s not happening, and that life is all rosy.  This life is not going to be rosy.  There are nice moments, sure.  There can be laughter and happiness and many ways God blesses us throughout…but it will inevitably be in the midst of struggles and trials as well.  And our true reward comes when this life is over.

Meanwhile, all those struggles become things we are able to use to help others…to have compassion for them…to understand them better…and to show them Christ’s love through it, as he shows it to us in the midst of our struggles.

2 Corinthians 4

New International Version (NIV)

Present Weakness and Resurrection Life

4 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


About Anne Sikes

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (2 Cor. 4:7) Sharing the journey through daily thoughts and struggles, examination of Scripture, poetry, music and art.
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27 Responses to To my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ

  1. Bird says:

    If how pretty our lives look is any indication of how saved we are, I would be going to hell. Image is an illusion…This was just beautiful, Anne, just like your heart!

  2. Steven says:

    Wow, that was very well said, I can totally relate! Sometimes I think the best evidence of our Fathers love is viewed in our, let’s just say “awkward” times. I keep telling myself, “someday your going to understand, until then…..just keep going”. Shalom

  3. When I hear people say this…If you truly believe in Christ you would be healed, or you would be perfect (funny, you get that from a great many people who don’t know what Grace and Mercy mean), I tell them what Hebrews says about God bringing us through things so that we may comfort others going through the same things. I tell them my hope for healing will come whether on earth or in Heaven. It is God’s will for me to have hope, to share how he gets me through each day, not for me to be perfect, just forgiven, loved, and trust in Him. I ask them if their beliefs make them perfect…let you who are without sin cast the first sin. I know that I will be healed, if while I’m on earth to God be the glory…if in Heaven all the more glory to God! I would rather have one healing hug from Jesus, knowing I persevered and overcame these trials keeping my eyes on Him, than to have healing here knowing that I could have been more patient, more willing to suffer to share his love and encouragement with others who are facing the same things I am. I pray for healing, but I pray more for the strength to persevere and that God’s will be done, and if it is for me to continue as I am that it will bring glory to the Father.

    • Anne Sikes says:

      Amen…and that’s a good response for people! I accepted Christ in 1982, and so had only been a Christian a few years when I started slipping back into that depression and all that began. It went on for a couple years, and depression is insidious and creeps up on you anyway. But by the time I was dealing with those memories and hospitalized, I was very seriously depressed. I remember when the doctor at the hospital wanted to put me on meds, and I refused. I told him, “I can tell you every person here who’s on the meds…they’re all walking around like zombies!” He started pointing out a few people to me and asking what I thought about them, and I was really stunned to see that they weren’t the zombies I was talking about. 🙂 There were people there for a lot of different reasons, including some for schizophrenia, and some who had to have adjustments in medication because of ill effects. I agreed to go on the meds, and they were carefully monitored and adjusted through my stay there. I’m telling you…it was the difference between night and day for me. I was normal…I still cried sometimes, but it was normal. Nobody would know I was taking those meds if I didn’t say so. I took them for a little over a year, and then weaned myself off of them, against doctor’s orders. I’ve had a few other bouts of depression through the years since, but never again like that. But you’re right…it enables us to understand things so that we can help others who go through it, as well as becoming part of our testimony in the way He worked through it while we were experiencing it. Thank you for your comment, and God bless you! –Anne

      • God bless you too! Just keep holding on Anne, and never let anyone make you feel unworthy. It was the unworthy people like Paul and Peter, and the amateurs like Noah that God used for his glory. It is through the fallen woman and the thief to his right on the cross that he showed the true lengths of his grace and mercy. When we are weak, then He is his strongest. I look at it this way…when we are weak, we don’t underestimate or take for granted his power to pull us through.

  4. kyllingsara says:

    Thank you for writing this post, Anne. You anwered many of my questions. Sometimes I get the impression that if I’m not happy and feeling blessed – constantly, then my faith must not be very strong. And this is from fellow believers. Advice such as “don’t think about the bad stuff and life will be good” or “you have Christ now and therefor should feel no pain”. Comments like these make me think a few things: 1) To hell with faith. If this is what being a Christian should be like, then I’m better off without it. 2) I must not be a very good Christian since obviously my faith must be extremely lacking. If it wasn’t, I would be feeling awesome all the time.

    If I knew how to not think about the bad stuff, I would have. Believe you me. Again, I am so glad you posted this. Bless you.

    • Anne Sikes says:

      I think that most people, Christian or not, try to go through life with their facades…covering up what doesn’t give some appearance they want to project of all being well. But it does seem sometimes like Christians are sometimes worse about that. I think part of that comes because there are people who draw people to accept Christ by telling them doing so will solve all their problems…and it doesn’t. It saves us…gives us hope, and we have strength IN HIM that we didn’t have before…strength, comfort and joy and peace. But those things are still there in the midst of much tribulation. The Bible is clear about that. And for me, that comforts me. Read what Paul said about his troubles here. Thanks for your comment Sara! I guess I’d better get to bed. I have to take Grace to the bus stop early in the morning and then have a friend coming over to visit. I’m looking forward to that. It’ll be a really nice treat for me. I haven’t done that in a long time. Blessings!! –Anne

  5. kyllingsara says:

    Sounds like a very nice treat. Sweet dreams. I thank God for you.

  6. solingenpoet says:

    I agree with all you say. There are no glib answers to the trials we go through but what i know is that the hairs of our heads are numbered and He knows every tiny detail of what we go through. Depression is not an illness where you can just ‘pull yourself together’…. It’s often a chemical imbalance in the brain that need treatment the same any other disease. ThanKyou for the reminder!

    • Anne Sikes says:

      And thank you too solingenpoet. I used to hate that…when people thought you should snap out of it, and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do that. But truth was, I thought so too until it was shown to me that it was an illness…chemical imbalance like you say, and not just a character defect or something, 🙂 Thanks again, and God bless!

  7. Rob Barkman says:

    Anne, Everything you said is so true. For those who are suffering from depression may the Lord bless both physically and spiritually to meet whatever needs they may have. Lord bless.

  8. terry1954 says:

    The devil isn’t going to mess with those who are no threat. these words you wrote are a great comfort to me now

  9. Chrystal says:

    Amen & amen! Sometimes I get the “look” when I am open & talk about my struggles and/or my lack of faith, my weaknesses, etc. And I used to shut up about it. But now, I talk about it. Hence my blog’s name: LEARNING to be. And I just know that EVERY Christian feels that way at times. That’s why we need to keep admitting that we don’t have it all together. And THAT’S why we need Jesus. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” And by the way, I understand personally about depression.

    • Anne Sikes says:

      Thank you so much for your comment Chrystal. I LOVE that verse. Most of us are ashamed of our weaknesses and try to hide them, but Paul’s saying he’s boasting about them because they are a way in which Christ’s strength is revealed. God bless you!! As for the depression…there are lots of us I believe. 🙂

  10. As those of us who have suffered through depression, we are hard enough on ourselves being Christian and we certainly don’t need someone who has never…experienced it….saying if we were really believing enough then God would heal us ..or words to that effect…or others whether Christian or not saying just think good things…or snap out of it…Don’t they realize how often we have said or tried those things ourselves.? Like you even when I cried out to God, somehow I knew he was there but certainly more clearly saw it after….Diane

    • Anne Sikes says:

      My experiences that I spoke of there were back in the mid to late 80’s. I don’t know if things are better now, but probably not really. It’s just one of those things that’s hard for people to grasp…how anything to do with the mind can’t just be controlled. Talk about crying out to God though…I would get in the bath…hottest water I could stand and just cry and cry and beg God to take it away. It was the most awful feeling of abandonment. But then after seeing what had taken place afterward, there was growth and healing and a lot of learning through the process. It is so hurtful though when you’re already in anguish, and people say such careless things. But in their defense…it’s just impossible to understand if you’ve never been through it. And as I’m sure you know, it’s hard enough to understand when you HAVE been through it. 🙂 But God is good. Thank you for sharing, Diane! God bless you…–Anne

  11. jesusmyjoy says:

    I was diagnosed with bi polar type 2 last week..i don’t like it at all sis.

    • Anne Sikes says:

      I have some friends and family members with bipolar illness. Any type of mental illness is so hard to accept…especially when you think you shouldn’t be having it…that it’s you, just being weak. I understand…been there. But it’s in our weakness that HE is made strong. But I understand…so well what you mean. God bless you! –Anne

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