Monday, July 17, 2017

Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me

Monday, July 17, 2017
I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy.  I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles.  When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.  Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me.  I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought!  No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me.  Then I pray to you, O Lord.  I say, “You are my place of refuge.  You are all I really want in life.  Hear my cry, for I am very low.  Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me.  Bring me out of prison so I can thank you.  The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.”  Psalm 142:1-7(NLT)
Of the seven U.S. presidents who hail from New York, the last two have a reputation of being flamboyant and able to rub the cat in the wrong direction.  There is a story about the one who occupied the Oval Office from 1933-45, which may, or may not, be true:
Roosevelt decided that the guests were never really listening to what he was saying. One day at a reception he decided to try a little experiment.  As each guest arrived and shook the president’s hand he smiled politely and said pleasantly, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”
As Roosevelt had anticipated, the guests responded with such comments as, “Marvelous!”  “Keep up the good work!”  “We are proud of you!”  “God bless you, sir!”
It was not until the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his guest actually listened to what Roosevelt was saying.  The ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.”[ii]
Now, that’s a funny story, and, whether true or not, highlights part of the problem the Psalmist wailed about – that there wasn’t a single person who really cared what happened to him; nobody even gave his circumstances a passing thought.  Sometimes most of us at least have thoughts like that.  Some of us live there.
You may have been there – are there; I have been as well.
Our prayers at times like that turn to the kind of lament that drowns out the reasonableness of life.  We cry out to God for any kind of relief.  We are like Buck Owens character in the song, Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me[iii]:
Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Self-pity aside, the reasons why people get in this mode of frantically crying from the pit of despair is that we really are in deep despair.  Depression is no small thing.  And, if the sale of anti-depressant drugs is any indication, our culture is really good at creating it.

For You Today

Be aware today that of the first 10 people you will meet today, somewhere around eight or nine of them will have experienced, or ARE experiencing depression!  Help them know someone cares; help them pray with the other Psalm:
Restore to me the joy of your salvation…Psalm 51:12a(NLT)
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!

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