How is it with your soul?.
There is a darkness hovering over my mind this morning. All the political jabbering and the world strife is set aside as I ponder a life ended too soon and a wife, mother, children, and a family left swirling in a mass of questions with no answers. The Olympics? Meh...
I write today in memory of a son, brother, husband, father, friend and coworker. Junior was a good kid with the usual troubles. He didn't always say the right things or do the right things, but ask him for a favor and he would do whatever he could to help. He was good with his hands could operate just about any heavy equipment you can think of.
Junior served our country and gave the U.S. Army his best. Somewhere along the way, the troubling things Junior experienced turned on him. He could no longer carry the weight of these burdens. As tough as he was and as gritty as his personality portrayed, Junior couldn't see hope beyond the despair. The enemy, mental illness, had claimed another victim.
Weeping and Mourning
"Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal
and moan like an owl. For her wound is incurable; it has come to Judah.It has reached the very gate of my
people, even to Jerusalem itself." (Micah 1:8-9, NIV)
The prophet Micah understood the pain of brokenness and suffering. His writing paints a picture of abject weeping and wailing. That is how I feel today. This darkness is painful and a tragic reminder of the millions of people walking around us with their own darkness of the soul; women and men caught in the strong grip of depression. Maybe you are that person. My heart breaks in knowing that many of my friends are suffering from the curse of mental illness and do so in silent prisons. If you are one of those people, I beg you to reach out and let somebody know the demons you are fighting are too big for you. Cry out for help. Don't let Satan steal your joy and lead you to harm yourself. There is a great hope in Jesus Christ and He is able to defeat those demons if the troubled soul will allow it.
If there is one thing I can do, it will be to look more deeply into the eyes of those whom I meet. I will look beyond the facial features to peer into the unspoken words and dreary body language. I will ask tough questions that can't be answered with a yes or no. I will offer to help another human, formed in the image of God, to see hope beyond the dark gloom of mental illness.
While the haunting words of the Moody Blues song, "Late Lament" echo into thin air, I will hold onto the hope we have in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.
Breathe deep the gathering gloom, Watch lights fade from every room. Bedsitter people look back and lament, Another day's useless energy spent. Impassioned lovers wrestle as one, Lonely man cries for love and has none. New mother picks up and suckles her son, Senior citizens wish they were young. Cold hearted orb that rules the night, Removes the colours from our sight. Red is grey and yellow white. But we decide which is right. And which is an illusion?
Left to our own searing pain, we'll consider that all hope is lost. We'll make the decision to end something for which God still has designs. Our "Late Lament" should be for those who don't know the true hope of Jesus. Then our task should rise up like a clarion call to speak life into those dark souls and minds filled with confusion.
(Junior, Rest in Peace)
Day is done, gone the sun, From the lake, from the hills, from the sky; All is well, safely rest, God is nigh. Fading light, dims the sight, And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright. From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night. Thanks and praise, for our days, 'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky; As we go, this we know, God is nigh. Sun has set, shadows come, Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds Always true to the promise that they made. While the light fades from sight, And the stars gleaming rays softly send, To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend. (Taps, Butterfield. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taps
Psalm 121 -- A song of ascents.
"I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121, NIV)