Saturday, October 13, 2012


Hello here is an update to the newsletter we just put out. 

Depression is a sneaking thing. It doesn't just pounce on you like Tiger. It slithers around your feet and winds up into your brain and nests in your heart. You think you are tough and beyond depression. After all, I'm a pastor, I help folks with depression. Yet, you listen to its sensual talk and you feel down. I told my wife for weeks the medicine is making me feel funny. I am tired all the time. I had lost over a hundred pounds now I have gained 10 pounds back. What? HOW? I feel sicker. Getting out of bed is harder and harder. The days when there is challenging work to do are the hardest. The days for rest are up and easier. Still there is this weight that grows in the heart. Emotions not under control. Anger, fear, resignation to fate, giving up symptoms are viral in my blood. The weight of the stuff makes reading the word fuzzy not so inspiring. Cynicism is the choice of all conversations. Back handed comments are wrapped in compliments. The clouds of darkness surround me. What is happening? The fear gives way to hallucinations of projected outcomes for things that are unrealistic. A thought! I'm on track for what my kids, Caleb and Rachel, went through. Shock and denial have broken into fear and panic of undesired things. I feel like Jesus in the garden in some ways although I am not sweating blood. I am drooling for comfort food. I have been putting hot sauce on everything. I even drank a packet of taco bell hot sauce just because I could. I am disgusting and when I look at disgusting the noose of depression tightens around my neck. Hopelessness begins to crumbling the foundation stones of the call of God on my life. I have been rock solid in the things the Lord has done and know that I am called to this ministry. Yet, there I am wavering teary eyed thinking God is taking it all away. Why Lord? So I go to the doctor this last week in despair and thinking this is it. We are going home... God must laugh at me sometimes for all the wild stuff I dream up. The Doctor looked me in the eye and said Dan, as far as I am concerned you won't need a transplant you are getting better. Look...” and he showed us the numbers and stats and its like wow. I am getting better. BNP is a blood test that measures a hormone that comes from the heart. Here is information I got off the internet.
BNP levels below 100 pg/mL indicate no heart failure  
BNP levels of 100-300 suggest heart failure is present
BNP levels above 600 pg/mL indicate moderate heart failure.
BNP levels above 300 pg/mL indicate mild heart failure
BNP levels above 900 pg/mL indicate severe heart failure. 

The I asked the doc why I felt so terrible. He shrugs and says I don't know you should have plenty of energy and not feel dizzy. Then the Lord spoke to my heart I have been depressed. The Doc says I'll reduce your diuretics better yet I'll stop them all together. What? Wait I need those for weight loss? No, those are to prevent water retention. Weight loss is my not eating gig. 

On June 1, 2012 I was 668 BNP. This weeks BNP was just above 300. It was in the 8-9 hundreds last year. God is healing me. The key is to loose the weight and lower that BNP which is a hormone that is produced from the normal stress on the heart. If your heart is damaged there is more hormone produced. So If I can drop down to 100 there is the chance of never needing a transplant and or any other type of intervention. Whew. 

Praise God! Here I was, all depressed and sick to my stomach that I had to pull out of Japan and go home and all kinds of fear and doubt. So I was thinking how did that happen? Just a few months back we were so charged up about serving the Lord and all. So I took to the Word of God and started to study. I came to Psalm 42 and found myself sizing up pretty closed to David's feelings in his situation. He had very real enemies of persons wanting to kill him. I only have deadly thoughts that kill ministry and life and hope. Below is my study of the chapter. God bless you if you read it especially if you have been depressed. I am renewed in hope and joy for God is my salvation and the sustainer of my life. He will continually use us and test us. I failed the faith test but it's okay He lets me retake it over and over again until I get it right. God is a great teacher. He is an awesome God that loves us so much. God bless you. 

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.

The Psalmist feels distant from the Lord. He is questioning his silence. He feels dry in his soul for a fresh drink in the
fountain of the Lord. The river of joy is dried up, the overflowing life is quenched and the desert of desolation has taken its place. He feels lost.
2. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 
When shall I come and appear before God?
He is not desiring the things of the world there is only one element in the universe that can satiate this dryness. It isn't just any god type experience. It's not a louder or longer worship service. He waits like a forlorn lover deprived of his soul mate. He wants intimacy. He wants holiness alive and active and healing.
3. My tears have been my food day and night, 
while they continually say to me, 
“Where is your God?”
The deprivation has even made nourishment less than desirable. The hopelessness he feels seems, from my perspective, to have people around him saying, "Dude what happened to the God you believe in? You feel God has abandoned you but where is your God?" He has spiritually isolated himself in the vacuum of hopelessness. It is sucking the life out of his relationship with God.
4. When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me: 
For I used to go with the multitude; 
I went with them to the house of God, 
With voice of joy and praise
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
The time wasted in this place of despair and depression have led him to neglecting the things of God. He notes that spiritually he is withdrawn and now looks back to joyful times going to Church and loving the Lord with worship. He desires to walk with God yet the depression makes this physically impossible. Something is missing? What is missing? Why can't I get back to where I need to be? He has looked at God and he has looked at Church but those aren't the problems or the reason for his despair. Now he must look to self...
5. Why are you cast down, O my soul? 
And Why are you disquieted within me? 
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of his countenance.
Now he gets to the source of his depression. He has been looking at external realities and social abnormalities but now he must go deep into the darkness and turn on the light. Why is it so dark down here? It's like a cellar. His questions give way to a command. "Put your hope in God." Hope? is that the core problem here? Turn on the light with hope. In the soul of man, a seed of hope can feed him for life and give expectation of better times lying ahead. When that seed is uprooted by the claws of depression the cares of this life choke out the seed.
6. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; 
therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, 
And from the heights of Hermon
(a Sanctuary also the largest MT in Israel) — 
from the Hill Mizar. (Mizar means mount small)
His inspection of soul has yielded a trip down memory lane. He is literally talking to his soul. He has diagnosed the problem. Himself. He is looking at self. Now he make a conscious decision to cast aside all thoughts of self and to think on God. He tracks his memory banks of God through the geography of Israel. God has done mighty works intervening in man's history and has yielded a great legacy that God is always there and cares and loves. God loves us. Romans 5:5 "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
7. Deep calls to deep at the noise of your waterfalls; 
all your waves and billows have gone over me.
The Love of God is like a deep ocean. Like the fish that call to the deep and the sonar echoes back, "God loves you." It bounces around the depths of deep calling to deep echoing the same voice, "God loves you." As he travels out of the sea of this great love it is still reaching out to him and washing over him in great waves of love. He is carried
away by the love of God washing away the hopelessness that was there.
8. By day the Lord directs his love, 
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
The cleansing of God's love has yielded the fruit of a relationship with the Living God. No longer is he lonely at night fighting with tears the vanity of hopelessness. Now his love is back and is singing him to sleep. He is in worship, fellowship, and prayer to the God of his life.
9. I say to God my Rock, 
“Why have you forgotten me? 
Why do I go mourning,
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
The question to God is a rhetorical one with the accent on the word have. "why HAVE you forgotten me?" finish with rising intonation as if a question that remains unanswered. His first answer to this self posed question? Because I have been focused on the enemies of my life that are oppressing me. The cares of this life. I look at things that take my eyes off of you. I allow personal perception to cloud godly wisdom.
10. As with a breaking of my bones 
my enemies reproach me, 
while they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
The fruit of this allowing yields very real pain. Down to the core of his very frame he is tortured by these cares. The frame of his faith the pillars of high quality construction are like bones breaking or shattering. Luke 21:26 "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth," Spoken by Jesus Christ. He also adds in verses 34-36 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth, watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man.” The Psalmist restates the previous in a conclusion of the poem. So the circumstances and enemies which are the cares at staring at him speaking to him saying, "Where is your God?"
11. Why are you cast down, O my soul ? 
And why are you disquieted within me? 
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
He finishes his conversation with self by restating the original question and then giving the answer to the problems of self and the cares of this life. Jesus says for us to pray always. Paul says we are to pray without ceasing. Get eyes off self and on God. God's eternal love is there ready to wash over your life and cast out the despair of depression. This action renews us for proper worship and a right mind before the Lord who is our Savior and our God. Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hope is the seed of faith in Hebrew 11:1 "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Again hope is the container for faith it is like a tire that holds the air of faith. If the tire gets punctured then faith leaks out. Depending on the nature of the puncture it could be a rush or a very slow leak. It's the slow leaks that catch us by surprise. I don't realize I am getting flat, losing faith, until I'm in the same place as this Psalmist, stuck in a desert of despair and depressed at the conditions of life sitting next to my flattened hope tire.

No comments: