Outside the Darkness Are Certain Colors

A Poem of Certain Colors

Living in darkness
no color I see
a hint of deep blue
maybe red–
but no, only blackness

Tears flood the darkness
trying to wash away
the blackness
to reveal the color
I know must be near

I’ve heard stories
of vibrant yellow sunshine
smiling green trees
happiness in rainbows
streaming across
a pale blue sky

But in the darkness
these colors
are but myths
draped in blackness
obscured by
the pain I feel

Then suddenly
the Light comes
dim colors
revealed to my eyes
for my heart to see

The Light
drawn by my tears
came to wash away
the blackness
tears alone
could never heal

The colors of
my world brighten
day by day
as the Light illuminates
the truth of colors
that were always
just outside the darkness

“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, along the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”

Matthew 4:15-16 (NIV).

This poem was originally posted on my blog, Linda Kruschke’s Blog, about my own struggles with major depression and the Light who has helped me see the beautiful colors depression had obscured.

 

Psalm for My Savior

Psalm 116:7 – painted canvas, melodyjoy1983, http://www.etsy.com

This poem is written in the pantoum form and is based on Psalm 116, which is my favorite Psalm. I find that the repetition of lines in this form lends itself well to Christian poetry of lament and praise. I hope you are blessed by this offering.

Psalm for My Savior

For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death
The anguish of death and darkness entangled me
I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!”
Praise my God, my Savior who came to my rescue

The anguish of death and darkness entangled me
My eyes filled with tears, my feet stumbled under me
Praise my God, my Savior who came to my rescue
Rescued me from my trouble, sorrow, and darkness deep

My eyes filled with tears, my feet stumbled under me
The Lord, my God, heard my cry for love and mercy
Rescued me from my trouble, sorrow, and darkness deep
Now I know His grace and mercy are mine to keep

The Lord, my God, heard my cry for love and mercy
He saw the anguished turmoil of my broken soul
Now I know His grace and mercy are mine to keep
I will forever praise His glorious name, Jesus

He saw the anguished turmoil of my broken soul
I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, save me!”
I will forever praise His glorious name, Jesus
For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death

Please check Linda’s site. It’s always a blessing!

Landmine Warfare

Landmines are a very interesting form of warfare.  Buried and essentially unseen, they lay waiting for the enemy.  Trained as a Combat Engineer at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, I was taught that there were things to counteract other things like mines.  I knew how to operate a ‘minesweeper’.  I was also taught how to probe with a stick to find mines that could not be detected.  In the heat of an Ozark summer, I would be coated with a red mud after crawling on my belly through the Missouri dirt.

There are landmines in the Church. 

Buried they simply wait on a believer to step on it.  Wisdom would tell us to advance with caution, but the counsel is not always taken.   They only await our careless step.  We can know they exist, yet we can step on them without thinking.  It is a definite form of deception. There are definite things which can cripple us spiritually. landmine-little

Mines such as fear, doubt, unforgiveness, jealousy, lust, pride and selfishness lay waiting for us.  When you step on a mine, you’ll hear a distinct click.  This is the downward signal that you have engaged the mechanism of the mine.  At this point it gets grim.  It is highly unlikely that you can move quickly enough to get away from the explosion.

We are incredibly vulnerable to the mines of our walk as a believer.  However, the Holy Spirit holds the maps that can enable us to transverse that which is ahead of us.  His presence gives us a safe awareness to progress difficult ground.  He is there to direct us to pass through the danger.

Too many people are getting blown up. 

They make a misstep and the resulting blast is awful.  Unless we listen to the Spirit’s direction we will find ourselves in a very hard place, full of difficulty and danger.

We need the Holy Spirit to help us navigate difficult places. 

Without Him present we will step in places that are extremely detrimental, and very dangerous.  He must guide us, step by step, through the danger that surrounds us.  He will do this, if we only ask.

 

Good Grief, [Post by James Winsor]

good-grief

How Depression is a Blessing in Disguise

A darkness creeps into the soul and smothers it. Who knows why, how long it will last, or what will make it go away. You feel like you have nothing left to give to anyone else. You don’t want anyone around, except that one person who knows how to lift the darkness. You can’t and don’t want to explain how you feel. You don’t know why you’re sad, and you feel embarrassed by it because you have a pretty nice life. You can see why hungry, sick or poor people would be sad, but not you.

If you’re up to it, you try to process thoughts about God or words to or from God. This feels impossible. At best, God is distant. He couldn’t care about these stupid, unjustifiable feelings. There are people with real problems; God should be much more concerned about them. At worst, God becomes a very active enemy. He judges you for feeling this way. He wants you to just drop this selfish, self-centered, self pity trip. Doesn’t the Bible command, “Rejoice in the Lord always?” You’re a long way from doing that. Every word of good cheer seems to condemn you more for not being cheery.

As you deal with these feelings, you start to see what’s at the bottom. For the most part, it’s self-loathing. You just can’t stand being around you! Sometimes you can’t see the causes for the self-loathing. It’s just there and it won’t go away. I hate being me, and anyone who really knew me would hate me. The people who love me only do because they don’t know me.

Sometimes the self-loathing turns outward. It explodes into a kind of rage against the world. Now the darkness has covered not only your heart, but your eyes. You can’t see outside of yourself. You have trouble remembering there is an outside world. When you wake up to that fact, you again see the self-centeredness and hate it all the more.

It doesn’t seem possible to break out or for anyone to break into it. Even God doesn’t seem to know how to break inside the darkness. Some of the most spiritually-rich Christians I know experience depression. Some of them medicate it. Some don’t. But it doesn’t make that much difference when it comes to the soul. You can’t medicate the soul.

God is up to something in your depression. There are things God can do for you better when you’re depressed. Someone once said that God empties in order to fill, and kills in order to raise up. God could have made a world where depression is impossible. He could have made a world where sin, death and Satan are not on the scene. But God decided ahead of time that it was better to do things His way. There was something important that He could do with a broken world that He couldn’t do with a perfect world.

In paradise, Adam and Eve did not know God as well as you do. They walked and talked with Him, but were ignorant of what God was really about. God is self-sacrificing, self-giving love. Adam and Eve didn’t have a clue about Good Friday. They didn’t need Good Friday. Do you realize what that means? They didn’t need God’s self-sacrificial love. All they needed was a creator and provider. They didn’t need a Savior.

But that’s what’s best about Him. He saves sinners by dying for them. When Jesus was on the cross, you were loathed enough. God took out all of His holy loathing, and it was over. There is nothing more important in your life than God’s saving love for sinners.

Depression is a cold, gray wind that blows you off the cliff.

You can’t find anything inside yourself to cling to, to hope in, to claim as a basis for God’s acceptance.

All you have is Jesus and His love for sinners.

His resurrection of sinners in Himself. His baptizing of this sinner, you. That’s all you have. You fall into the water and lose yourself. But once you fall in, you can only see the love of God in Christ. A purple robe for mocking. A brown cross. Silver nails. Red blood. A white robe shining forth from the darkness of the tomb.

Have you ever noticed that you can see the farthest at night? In the daytime the most distant object you can see is the sun – a mere 93 million miles away. But at night your eye takes in countless stars and galaxies that are many light years away. Your vision is greatly improved in the darkness.

So it is with depression. When you are having bright days of happy sunshine, you can’t see too much further than your studies, sports, work, friends, family or possessions. A very small world. But in the darkness of depression you begin to see the glistening vast expanse of God’s love in Christ.

And when you are full of self-loathing and darkness, the love of Christ is all you have. And as it turns out, you don’t have Christ at all until all you have is Christ.

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The Rev. James Winsor is pastor at Risen Christ Lutheran Church in Arvada, Colorado.

Taken from the Spring 2002 edition of Higher Things magazine. You can write Higher Things at P.O. Box 58011, Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158-8011.  http://www.issuesetc.org

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