A few years back, I had the opportunity to preach at my church’s Thursday night service a few times during the summer. This service was specifically geared toward college students and young adults. I was pumped. I love teaching the Bible more than just about anything else, and getting a chance to do so from the big platform was a delight. But about 48 hours before I was to preach, I was hit with an almost-debilitating depression. Swirling jets of self-doubt and despair, unspecified sorrows, panic. Utter darkness. And I thought over and over again, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.”
As I lay on my bed, in the dark, worrying over what was to become of me, a thought broke through the fog, flickering bright, with three words.
“Remember what’s true.”
When we’re faced with moments of despair, and our emotions threaten to overwhelm us, we need a rock. Something solid. Something we can put our trust in. For me, this rock is made up of what I know and believe to be true:
- That God is both sovereign and good.
- That Jesus lived, died, and was raised to redeem sinners, of which I am one–and as Paul would say, most days I feel I’m the foremost.
- That the redeeming work of Jesus, applied to me by the Spirit of God living inside me, clothes me in His righteousness, so that when God sees me, He sees me as perfectly righteous, just like His Begotten Son is. Because of this, I am accepted, justified, loved, even liked. I am adopted as a son, and given full rights as heir to the glorious inheritance I have in Christ.
- That because God is both sovereign and good, and I am a justified, accepted, adopted son of God, whatever He calls me to, this He will equip me for. He will not abandon me, reject me, deny me, or give up on me. All of my sin has been forgiven: past, present, and future. All of my sin has been fully paid for, and the righteous wrath of God against me has been fully satisfied, by the substitutionary death of Jesus. Because of this, I don’t have to fear divine condemnation.
- That based on these truths, I am free and able to live boldly with faith in the knowledge that I am never alone or unloved.
I believe these things are true. I don’t always act like I do–and I suppose one could argue that my actions sometimes belie what I truly believe. But I will say that, even when I am faithless, He is eternally faithful. And I affirm these truths, and seek to live by their light.
And there in the dark, less than 2 days before I was scheduled to preach, I started preaching to myself, like the Psalmist. “Why so downcast, oh my soul? Put your hope in God.” And so I did.
In the years since that night, I’ve gone back to that simple phrase, those 3 vital words, to keep me grounded.
So. If you are being tempest-tossed by your doubt (and I know some of you are), I invite you to try this: remember what’s true. Write it down. Say it aloud. Pray it out. Do what you gotta do to remember. And rest in that truth.
Have a good weekend, fam. Grace and peace to you.
[adapted from this post on the “A Better Story” blog]