[When you go through deep waters]
“I’m Willing…He’s Able” is the title of a poem that I wrote one day while I was really struggling with depression. Earlier that day I’d tried to read the book that I’d started to work my way through (“The Power of Suffering” by John MacArthur), but as I attempted the next chapter, I put the book down quite quickly. It wasn’t helping.
When I’m feeling at my worst I tend to search all the more for answers and comfort, but not everything helps. Reading about suffering when you’re depressed is difficult.
I wanted to know what comforts other believers in their depression, so I did a Google search. I tried reading through a few articles, but they weren’t helping either.
Next, I searched for music that might be encouraging. It’s true, you really can’t sing to someone who has a heavy heart (Proverbs 25:20) Music couldn’t comfort me.
Finally I came across an article that grabbed me: Bible Verse For Depression. As I read through each verse I appreciated the simple truth. I found that all of the verse spoke some comfort, but it was Isaiah 42:3-4 that was my spark of hope.
“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice; He will not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth. In His teaching the islands will put their hope.” –Isaiah 42:3-4
The opening metaphor is what first drew me in, but what really spoke to me is that Jesus is both strong and able, yet gentle, even when I’m feeling as if the discipline isn’t so gentle. Though I falter, and I get discouraged, Jesus doesn’t. This is the truth! In this I have a deep conviction, thus, I do indeed put my hope in His teaching.
Though I found some peace in these words, I was still struggling mentally. That’s when I decided to pour my heart out to the Lord through poetry.
I’m Willing… He’s Able
The spirit is willing
But the flesh is weak
When the waves drag me under
Lord, It’s You that I’ll seek.
But I’m tired of the water
How I long to come ashore
You show me You’re my anchor
When I want for something more.
The spirit is willing
But the flesh it protests
Discipline is painful
Still I believe Your will is best.
You’re my shield
Though I feel wounded
Still, in faithfulness it’s so
You are near the brokenhearted
The crushed in spirit still have hope.
This bruised reed, You have not broken
But this wick is burning low
When the flesh is holding on
Lord, You tell me to let go.
January 22, 2019
These words didn’t feel sufficient. In my frustration I wanted to trash what I’d written, however, I knew that my feelings weren’t trust worthy, so I left it alone. I’m glad that I did.
That night I found myself lamenting. I was still very depressed. I was discouraged, and I didn’t understand why things never seem to let up. All I wanted in that moment was a calm sea, or better yet, to come ashore and leave those waves behind for good.
The day AFTER I wrote this poem, thankfully, the Lord mercifully lifted my fog, so I picked up John MacArthur’s “The Power of Suffering” once again. Here’s what I read:
“In one of his textbooks, an eminent naturalist described a marine plant that grows from the depth of 150 to 200 feet and floats on ocean breakers. The stem of this plant is less than an inch thick, yet it grows and holds its own against the fierce pounding of the breakers that crash against the shore. What is the key to this seemingly frail plant’s marvelous endurance and it’s resistance to the pressure of the waves? According to the naturalist, the slender plant survives so well against the elements because it is anchored solidly to the rocks that lie at the bottom of the water.”
I was amazed! I’m always thrilled when I receive an answer to prayer, especially when it comes so quickly.
I’m thankful that He passes on consoling reminders, such as this one that I received through a valued friend: “I wouldn’t beat yourself up about trusting God. The reality is, we don’t see things with the perspective God has. Don’t forget, Israel means “struggle (or wrestle) with God. Trust God, but that doesn’t mean we don’t wonder a lot or get frustrated.”
Because God mercifully throws out life lines when needed, I was eager to follow His lead once again. This brought me to more insight through a portion of Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Genesis 32:24-32:
“When the spirit helpeth our infirmities, and our earnest and vast desires can scarcely find words to utter them, and we still mean more than we can express, then prayer is indeed wrestling with God.
However tried or discouraged, we shall prevail; and prevailing with Him in prayer, we shall prevail against all enemies that strive with us. Nothing requires more vigour and unceasing exertion than wrestling. It is an emblem of the true spirit of faith and prayer.
Jacob kept his ground; though the struggle continued long, this did not shake his faith, nor silence his prayer. He will have a blessing, and had rather have all his bone put out of joint than go away without one. Those who would have the blessing of Christ, must resolve to take no denial. The fervent prayer is the effectual prayer.” ❤
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” –Isaiah 43:2
Music may not always comfort, but there have been times when the words of a song will run through my head as a reassuring reminder. Thank you, Jesus, for always keeping my head above water.