St Johns Lutheran Church Willow Creek

Connecting People to Jesus in Rural Minnesota

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God’s Mercy and His Promises are Eternal

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Pastor John Bennett

I have to admit I don’t always feel like writing. In fact, I often go for extended periods where I would be perfectly content writing nothing at all, hence the reason it’s been more than a week since my previous post. Though I don’t advertise it, I suffer from clinical depression, and as luck would have it, your typical anti-depressants have side-effects that I find absolutely intolerable. But I know I’m not alone in my plight. Not too long ago I participated in a facebook conversation with some fellow pastors I knew from my seminary days, many who also suffered from depression. Of course this isn’t something that affects just pastors, but according to recent studies approximately 1 in 10 Americans suffer from depression. Why is that?

Of course there’s the psychological or genetic explanations, but the simple, biblical explanation boils down to one little word: sin. Yes, depression, emotional suffering, anxiety, all mental disorders, not to mention all human suffering, are all caused by sin. Thank you Adam & Eve! And now this is about the point when you’re thinking, “Ok Pastor, no big deal, we’ve all heard that before. Tell me something else!”

Well, the truth is, everyone at some point has a bad day. All statistics aside, it’s part of the reality of being alive. Call it depression, call it getting the blues, call it whatever you like, everyone, at some point, whether occasionally or frequently, gets depressed. But God, in His mercy, reminds us that He is still with us and that His promises are eternal. As an example, Friday started out as a not-so-spectacular day for me. I can’t fully explain it, it just sucked. But on my way home after dropping my son off at grandma’s house, something unusual happened. Without a cloud in the sky, with the sun shining brightly, there it was, plain as day, a rainbow. Though it happens from time to time, it’s not often that a rainbow is seen on a clear and sunny day. Spare me the scientific explanation, even though it was a bit faint, it was easy to see. Seeing that rainbow actually helped. I felt as if God had placed it there to remind me that He is the one who is in control, to remind me that no matter how bad a day I might have, how difficult at times things might be, or how bad I just want to crawl back into bed and not deal with life, that He still loves me, that He has sent His Son Jesus to show me just how much He does love me, and that this life, though filled with it’s challenges, is a gift from Him. Jesus has dealt with my sin once and for all upon the cross, and this promise is forever.

From Genesis 9: “I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”

God promised that He would never deal with sin again in such a way. Rather than visiting destruction upon all humanity, He visited destruction upon His Son, that those who trust in Him should never experience eternal destruction, but rather share in the eternal glory of heaven. For that, I can keep putting up with bad days. The eternal day of glory will come soon enough, and it will be worth the wait.

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