Devotional Thought for Today – 04/07/2021

Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series – Part VI

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Today we continue our series by looking at the third stage of the 5 Stages of GriefDepression.

Like so many other things Christians with enough faith should never get is depressed. At least that was the story we got told about my wife’s condition from a so called well meaning “friend”. Of course, this well-meaning person also was not a doctor and did no investigative questioning before blurting out the statement. I mention this not for sympathy, but to underscore the need for Chaplains and Ministers to make all due diligence in understanding the condition and history of those they are serving. I know with HIPAA this can be daunting but being well informed can greatly help in our care, comfort and counsel process.

I have yet to meet anyone going through the grief process that does not experience Depression in some manner. The obvious signs will usually manifest themselves as feelings of intense sadness, hopelessness, lack of energy, and other very detrimental effects that may affect the individual. It is important to note that these can be sublime and hidden in some folks. Again, using my wife, for example, she suffered a stroke due to poisoning before we met. She suffers from depression that is treated with counseling and medication. Her response to loss, like the recent death of her mom, is “I’m alright” even though she clearly was not. Like most folks (estimates as high as 67% of people suffering from depression) She just tries to grin and bear it. My wife because of her medical condition processes things differently and we (chaplains/ministers) need to be on the alert for this and any out of the “ordinary” situation and know when we are in over our heads. Here is a good list of types of depression.

So, what is depression? First depression is not just being sad. I lost my wedding band a few months ago, I was sad (even a little afraid of what my wife would say 😀)) but not depressed. Depression is sad on super steroids. It is constant here is the clinical definition:

The clinical definition, based on the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5), is “a period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities and had a majority of specified symptoms, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, or self-worth.” This definition excludes grief after mourning.

Before we move on I think it would be helpful reminder to list some of the things that one could encounter as a Chaplain/Minister in the Grief process that could lead to depression:

  • Trauma
  • Painful past experiences (PTSD)
  • Chronic Pain
  • Incarceration
  • Job loss or cut in pay
  • Financial problems
  • Parenting concerns and raising respectful, resilient kids
  • Loss
  • Life-changing illness
  • Marriage/relationship issues

The second thing to note about depression is that is often MISDIAGNOSED. Far too often healthcare professionals and Chaplains/Ministers are quick to say someone who has experienced one of these issues is depressed. Many times they are simply melancholy, which means intense sadness but a far cry from clinically depressed.

Another thing that might surprise some is that stage 2 (ANGER) can rear its ugly head here again. Let me explain, folks can socially withdraw a clear sign of depression setting in, if you try and force them out of that they can become hostile. Other symptoms of Grief/Depression include:

  • Can’t concentrate or think straight
  • Restless and anxious
  • Poor appetite/ Weight loss
  • Sad demeanor
  • Dreams of the deceased or even talks to them
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Can think of nothing but the loss, illness, or event…
  • Makes up reasons for the loss, many don’t make sense
  • Dwells on mistakes, real or imagined, that he or she made with the deceased

The last thing I have learned about this stage of Grief counseling is in this stage of Depression, where folks begin to address feelings that have been put off (consciously or unconsciously) such as abandonment, helplessness, loneliness, fear, despair, agony, etc. These are things that they did not look at during the stages of denial, anger, and bargaining.

I am not a professional Licensed Christian Counselor/Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist, if dealing with my wife’s condition has taught me anything, it is I need to be involved and I need to leave much of that stuff to the professionals.

The Tree Planted By Streams of Living Water (Psalm 1) - YouTube

Psalm 1:1-3

As the Psalm says, we can be that care comfort, and wise counsel of the Lord’s Law to those who are in need. I am convinced it is here that Chaplains/Ministers can have the greatest impact. Again offering the care, comfort, and (compassionate) counsel that God has called us to do.

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/20/2020

Hope For The Downcast Soul (Psalm 42) | Park Church

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“Hope thou in God”

As always let us begin with some context: This is the first of the Psalms in the 2nd book of 5 books of Psalms.  Most scholars agree that originally Psalm 42 and Psalm 43  were one and when the Hebrew script was translated into Greek (Septuagint) about 200 B.C. they were separated. 

This Psalm can be broken down into two part, v.1-5 the deep desire for God and v.6-11 crying out to God with hope.  Today we will look at two verses 5 and 11 which are nearly identical:

v.5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become restless and disturbed within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.

The author is being rhetorical here speaking to himself, asking the question after making the proclamations of desiring God in verses 1-4, ‘Why is it I am so troubled and sad?’  He quickly answers himself with the one thing that can silence all despair, Hope in God!

v. 11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? Why have you become restless and disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, The [b]help of my countenance and my God.

Again in the closing verse the author repeats these words, reminding himself and us, that no matter the trouble or burden there is  nothing to big (or to small) that God cannot handle. We need only place our Hope in God.  

The psalmist closes each verse with the thought that for I shall again or yet praise Him,  meaning that even though times are rough and he may be questioning God, why am I going though this? His faith is secure in the knowledge that God is in control and he has hope in God. The questions today is Hope thou in God? 

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/01/2020

Praise God now and experience His power! Amen.

PSALM 22 

PRAISING GOD

Many modern translations of the bible have headings and my Amplified Bible haA Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise for Psalm 22, the CSB has From Suffering to Praise and the NKJV The Suffering, Praise, and Posterity of the Messiah. All are appropriate titles, but I think the NKJV captures the entirety of the Psalm. 

 This Psalm clearly written by David begins with maybe the most tormented cry ever My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?  Luke 16:19-31 gives us but a small glimmer of what it must be like to be separated from God, to have Him truly forsake us.  Imagine the despair David must have felt v.1-2 as he feels God has abandoned him.  I will not get into the clear Messianic overtones of this Psalm today. 

Yet even in his despair, David makes a remarkable declaration, v.3 But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. Another way of saying this might be ‘You are The Holy Holy, the One who can be found where Israel raises it’s voices in praise.’ 

In the midst of the worst of troubles Davis recognizes God is still worthy of all the Glory and Praise that can be heaped upon Him.  He makes this abundantly clear in v.22; I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

The question today is what are you doing? Are you on that mountain praising God great, hopefully you are just as prepared and willing to praise Him in the valley’s of life too. 

 

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 02 June

DESPAIR

Then Judas…repented himself…and departed, and went and hanged himself – Matthew 17:3,5

Despair is Satan’s masterpiece. – John Trapp

Reason says, the bigger the sinner, the less grounds of hope. – John Bunyan

Despair cuts the sinews of endeavor. – Thomas Watson

Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

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HINDRANCES TO REVIVAL