A LORD (Yahweh) who sees and understands

Posted Sep 12, 2019

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Before or beyond the crisis moments in which you need help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255, the Crisis Text Line (text to 741741) or The Church of the Resurrection pastoral care—(913) 544-0712 or (913) 544-0799 after office hours, there is usually longer-term care needed. Click here to learn more about the resources available from Resurrection’s Counseling Ministries.

Daily Scripture

Isaiah 40:26-31

26 Look up at the sky and consider:
    Who created these?
    The one who brings out their attendants one by one,
    summoning each of them by name.
Because of God’s great strength
    and mighty power, not one is missing.
27 Why do you say, Jacob,
    and declare, Israel,
    “My way is hidden from the LORD,
    my God ignores my predicament”?
28 Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?
    The LORD is the everlasting God,
    the creator of the ends of the earth.
    He doesn’t grow tired or weary.
His understanding is beyond human reach,
29     giving power to the tired
    and reviving the exhausted.
30 Youths will become tired and weary,
    young men will certainly stumble;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
    will renew their strength;
    they will fly up on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not be tired;
    they will walk and not be weary.

Reflection Questions

After long years of exile, Israelites now faced a hard, wearing trip on foot from Babylon to Israel. It was tempting for them to think God didn’t see their hardships. The prophet pointed his readers to their God, who created everything, and whose understanding is beyond human reach. He invited them (and us) to trust when we don’t understand. Trust allows us to “hope in the LORD” for renewed strength, and through faith to “fly up on wings like eagles,” to “walk and not be weary.”

  • Few feelings are lonelier than the sense that you are alone in your problems and must face them with no support or help. Can you recall times when you have felt like the Israelites in Isaiah 40:27: “My way is hidden from the LORD; my God ignores my predicament”? Are there areas of your life today that feel that way to you? In what ways can you reconnect with the Creator who “doesn’t grow tired or weary” of caring for you?
  • Isaiah wrote, “His understanding is beyond human reach” (verse 28). Trying to control everything can keep us stuck in the very problems we seek to escape. God calls us to “let go”—not to quit caring, but to trust the one whose “understanding is beyond human reach.” How can trusting, really trusting, in a God who’s vastly wiser than you renew your strength by setting you free from the exhausting, depressing need to know all the answers right now?

Prayer

Lord God, when you and your love feel absent from my life, help me trust you and cling to hope. Remind me of what I too easily forget—that you love, value and care for me. Amen.

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Matt Ozment

Matt Ozment

Matt is the Special Events Production Manager in the Tech Arts ministry at Church of the Resurrection. He joined the staff in December 2014 and helps in supporting each event and conference at Resurrection Leawood. In his free time he spends time with his 3 kids, supports his wife’s cake business, and will be starting seminary at Asbury Theological Seminary Online in Fall 2019.

In today’s blog, I want to share a deeply personal story. I have an anxiety disorder. I think this is probably way more common than what I know, but for me it’s always been difficult to fully come to terms with the fact that I need to rely on this medication. I had always been known as a very calm, collected, stress-free, cheerful guy. So when I needed to go on medications to keep my inner stress from becoming overpowering, it was a difficult hurdle to overcome.

From time to time, my anxiety can manifest itself as depression--the two are very closely linked. There was a particular time when over the course of a couple weeks between medications, I was thrown into a deep sense of darkness. Call it what you will--withdrawals, discontinuation syndrome from switching medications, my own depression, something else. During this time, I became disconnected from my loved ones, even disconnected from myself (I even forgot my own birthday!). I felt so much emptiness; I could not remember a time in which I had ever felt joy, nor could I foresee any time that I would feel a sense of peace and hope again. Everywhere I went, I imagined that everybody else around me must be feeling the same way, and I wondered how humanity could have ever moved forward if these feelings were universal.

What got me through this time were three things. The first was intellectual: the knowledge that this was not me, that this cloud of darkness was not of my own making.

The second was relational: the recognition that I had a family who loves and needs me. While I was in this, I did talk to my wife openly to tell her what I was feeling--but it took an extreme effort to do so. If she and I hadn’t already built bridges together where depression was already a part of our conversations, I don’t think I would have been able to admit to her how I was feeling, at least not unprompted.

Finally, what really got me through this time was spiritual. My faith in God told me that I have a reason to be here, and those reasons so often tie into the other two reasons above. One of my favorite verses in Bible speaks into almost all situations, but it spoke so deeply here. It’s Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV). “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

It was in this short-lived shadow that I came to realize that the people who are deep in the trenches of this kind of cloud truly cannot see a way out. I share this with you today in the hopes that if you have a loved one who is shrouded in darkness, you may see a little better how difficult it is to see the light. Often, people in depression just need someone like you to be there. Don’t try to fix them or “the problem.” Just let them know you’re there for them, that you are available to talk should they ever need to. Make an effort to check in on them. In the book When Someone You Love is Depressed, one of the many great pieces of advice the authors offer is to “Offer unqualified support. What your depressed partner needs more than anything is your unconditional love and support.”*

If you are reading this and you can’t see the light, I want you to know that I see you. God sees you. Jesus sees you. You are not alone, and you are loved. People are here to help you (whether that be the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, Congregation Care, or your own family and friends). All it takes is a phone call, or even just a text.

*Amador, Xavier, Rosen, Laura. When Someone You Love is Depressed (Kindle Locations 918-919). Free Press. Kindle Edition.

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