Hunger and the Depression
- Monday, May 03, 2004
What about right now in our homes and our homeschooling? Can we apply what we learn from history even here? Are we putting trust in our own seemingly good ideas, or in God's precepts? Is our own little empire on the verge of collapse as we fall into a spiritual type of depression? Has our Christian walk been up and down – similar to living it up in the 1920's and then into a depression like the 1930's?
Though the Great Depression created a never-give-up spirit, a "spiritual depression" creates just the opposite: apathy. The only benefit of going through a spiritual depression is that we finally realize the need for better food for our souls, and we come to the conclusion that we cannot build good character traits from "doing without." One of the marks of the Great Depression was the food eaten, whereas the mark of a spiritual depression is that the food that God has provided is not eaten. What have we been storing up and feeding our spirits?
Are your spiritual cupboards bare? Has your hunger for the Word disappeared? Let me tell you about my own spiritual malnutrition and my own depression era. That "first saved" period of my walk with Christ was when I ate of His Word and never seemed to be full. I always desired more and was full of life and vitality in the Lord. Then came a period of time where I let the busyness of being a wife, mother, and teacher stop me from reading my Bible regularly. I began to rely on others to feed me through sermons or Bible Studies. I lost my own hunger for the Word. Then, even what others taught began to become dull. Eventually, I became lethargic and went through a period of "spiritual depression." I would open my Bible only if I happened to remember to bring it to church on Sunday. If I got letters in the mail from Christian organizations I would quickly scan past the scriptures to get to the "meat" of the letter. I thought I already knew everything there was to know about favorite memory verses and didn't take a second look at them. And at church, I often sat thinking about other things during the sermon because I already knew what was being preached, or I had that "I've heard that before" mentality and could tell it better myself. I was easily frustrated, angry, and depressed. Does any of that sound familiar?
In my life, spiritual depression began with spiritual starvation. I had starved myself of God's Word to the point where I had lost all hunger for it. Sound strange? Let me explain with a physical example. A doctor went to another country to help where he could. One of the main things he saw was malnutrition and starvation. The patients who were farthest gone had lost all appetite for food, had no hunger pangs, and were very lethargic. They had to be forced to eat. After getting enough nutrition, they eventually regained their appetite, and then would naturally eat on their own. Our spiritual life can be like this as well. If we stop eating from the Word, we will lose our spiritual appetite and suffer spiritual starvation. So, how does desire for the Word return?
The Lord graciously opened my eyes to my starved condition through a series of trials and tribulations. And, though there was no desire for His Word, I "force fed" myself until real spiritual hunger returned. I read and studied the Bible. I studied the names of God, the character of God, and the grace of God, etc. There are treasures hidden in the Word of God worth digging out. If we search, we will always find something that meets our present need. 1 Peter 2:2 states it perfectly, "as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word that you may grow thereby." For newborns to live, they need milk, not grape juice or water or anything else. Likewise to live our life in whatever capacity the Lord has us, we need the Word. I find myself convicted when I have time to watch a video or read a book, but haven't spent time in the Word. We need to pray for God to fill us with hunger and thirst for His righteousness, and He promises that we will be filled. To be hungry and seeking, yet fully satisfied and filled with Him is a glorious paradox.
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