I’m worried. Are you? I’m worried about many things. Including myself. I’ve struggled on and off with depression most of my adult life. I made it through this winter feeling alright for the first time in a few years. But then a global pandemic breaks out and I can hear some toxic songs, beckoning me, enchanting my soul. Can you hear the melodies? Do you, like me, need some support in ignoring them? If so, let me offer you my earplugs, if you will.
When was the last time you ate lettuce? That wasn’t on a burger? When I’m stuck at home, I just want to eat. It can be difficult to tell the difference between hunger and boredom. When I start to feel depressed or anxious, I just want to eat. Lego Batman sings it well in the Lego Movie 2. “I just want to eat carbs, pass the ice-cream…”
Even though we’re quarantined, surrounded by impending doom, and thrown off of all of our normal routines, our bodies still physically need proper nutrition. Maybe even moreso. A proper diet points us to a deeper and more satisfying truth: we were not created to live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
We do need to eat right. In every way. We need to consume the proper portions of protein, carbs, and… whatever is in vegetables. When we do, that reminds us that we need to consume the proper source of grace that comes from the Bible. And not just that, but reading the Bible in such a way that we are reminded it’s not about us, but about God. Specifically, what God has done, is doing, and will do through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is what I need to feast on. Daily.
Our bodies were not designed to stay hunched over keyboards while staring at glowing rectangles. We were designed to move. God’s Word commends this.
“While bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Tim 4:8.
Every time I exercise I want to quit early. I almost always need to pray something like this. “Lord, give me the grace I need to finish this workout that is only of some value so that I can know how to rely on you to persevere in the things that will matter in every way.”
In times of stress, I don’t necessarily want to serve others. Do you? I’m usually so consumed with myself that thinking of ways to care for other people don’t even enter my mind. I just wonder why no one reaches out to me?
Even writing this blog feels like a vulnerable risk. What if you judge me? What if you think less of me or my faith because you know I struggle with depression? That I’m tempted to consume carbs instead of Christ in order to be comforted?
What if no one reads this and I’ve wasted my time during an unprecedented global crisis?
So God I pray, give me the grace that I need to finish this blog so that you can bring to completion the good work You have begun in my heart and those who may read this.
Count on Christ
There is another song you could let enchant your soul. Listen to the birds sing. In fact, Jesus told us to look at the birds when we feel worried. They don’t seem to be worried. God is taking care of them. And they are counting on that. How much more valuable are we than they?
We can faithfully follow Jesus without fear – because He dealt with the One thing we should fear: Being separated from the love of God because of our sin. This pandemic did not take God by surprise. Covid-19 as well. But I mean our sin. The virus that has plagued all of human history that the coronavirus is just one of the symptoms of.
Jesus exhausted Himself, physically carrying our cross up a hill. He was consumed by God’s wrath against our sin – so that we could feast on the Bread of Life that has come down from heaven, and be eternally satisfied.
Three days later, Jesus was physically raised from the dead, eternally guaranteeing that no one and nothing could ever separate us from the love of God.
When I think about the gospel, all of a sudden, I’m not so worried. God’s taking care of the birds. Jesus overcame the grave. We can eat a salad and pray.