So many days were filled with fear, anxiety, and doubt. Depression wrapped me in its smothering cloak. The darkness weighed heavy with each breath. How would I ever escape the entrapment? Would I ever find joy again?
“When you hurt, go to your secret closet and weep out all your despair!” wrote David Wilkerson in a letter for his organization’s newsletter.
But I had cried from the depths of my being and I only got weaker and more afraid.
“You may feel rejected or abandoned. Your faith may be weak. You may think you’re down for the count. Sorrow, tears, pain and emptiness may swallow you up at times. But God is still on his throne. He is still God!” Wilkerson continued on in that letter.
“You can’t help yourself; you can’t stop the pain and hurt. But our blessed Lord will come to you. He will place his loving hand under you and lift you up to sit again in heavenly places. He will deliver you from all fears—and he will reveal his endless love for you.”
Sometimes it isn’t pleasant where the Lord takes us before He lifts us up and delivers us from all our fears. It was that way for me. Yet, through the darkest nights, He never left me. I just couldn’t feel His presence except occasionally when the darkness was pulled away and I could see His light shining through.
One of those moments came during a quiet prayer time while I was sitting on my bedroom floor. (See post here.) The Lord touched my spirit with His assurance that He delighted in me.
What did that mean?
The Lord, God of the universe, and the Lord of my weary soul, took great pleasure in me–just where I was. I gave Him joy and extreme satisfaction, according to Webster’s definition. It was beyond my comprehension or belief. His Spirit led me to the Scripture from Psalm 37:23, “The Lord delights in the way of the man whose steps he has made firm;”
At that moment, He “lifted me to sit again in heavenly places,” and “revealed His endless love for me” as Wilkerson had written. So much still lay ahead before the darkness lost its grip on me. But every morning of rehearsing His words in Scriptures that touched my soul, writing them on index cards, and waiting with parched lips for a drop of water from His fount of life set the foundation for my day.
It was months or maybe even years later that I grasped the number of times in Scripture where the Lord encourages us to believe that we are His delight and pleasure because we are His~and our hearts are given to Him even when we can’t find the joy or delight in our feelings that we would like to exprience.
When I was looking at one of these Scriptures the other day as I was writing, I noticed how much the Lord’s delight evoked His heart to rescue us. Look at Zephaniah 3:17, then back up to verses 14-15 and see how the Lord’s delight applies to those caught in darkness and fear.
“Sing, O Daughter of Zion, shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm…
“He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zep 3:14,15,17 NIV
Oh, the Lord was quieting my reeling mind and emotions with His love. He was taking great pleasure in me AND TURNING BACK MY ENEMY of anxiety and depression. It would take time–mornings before Him, fellowship with other Christians, Scriptures on index cards that I engraved on my heart each morning. It would take relying on Him.
Years ago when I was suffocating from depression and anxiety, someone gave me a book by David Wilkerson that said just pray every day even if you do not feel anything. That was the best advice I got–to grind out every day the words that felt like cotton on my tongue and lips. Days I felt like the despair had overtaken and I would never experience the Lord again. And then I’d pick up the book or more accurately the Lord would pick me up.