Blessed Are: Those Who Mourn

“How did we get here?” It’s one of the questions I ponder after every school shooting, after every senseless act of violence, after every scandal in the public arena. It’s one of the questions I ask God. The longer version: “Oh Lord, how did this country come to be like it is today?”

Sometimes I mourn for the state of our country…our world. Maybe you do, too. Jesus said,

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  –Matthew 5:4

Like many of Jesus’ statements, this line seems backward at first. Like I’m going to celebrate my grief because I experienced some comfort in it?!? It would still be better not to have grieved at all, thank you very much!

Maybe we don’t really understand “blessed.” Continue reading


Not an Easy Answer

IMG_0255It’s been awhile since I posted anything.  This is not because God has been silent.  Quite the opposite.

I have been depressed.  This is a weak spot in my spiritual armor that I wish wasn’t there and that I want to hide, so of course, He calls me to talk about it.  I felt like the tree in this photograph: connected to the world but dry and silent.  Apart from some post-partum, I’ve never struggled with depression before, so it took me awhile to admit it.  Yes, I should have talked to someone, but I felt like I knew what he or she would say, and I was already telling myself those things every day:  get in the Word, look for the positives, rise above my circumstances.  But there is no easy answer for a spiritual/emotional/mental/hormonal/physical/circumstantial attack.  In the meantime, despite God’s amazing way of revealing Himself through His Word, I didn’t feel like I had anything to say.  Then, one morning . . .

I was reading 2 Corinthians 7, where Paul keeps building up the Corinthians and telling them how important they are to him.  In the midst of his encouragement, one innocent phrase captured my attention in that unforgettable way which is so clearly the work of the Holy Spirit.  It said, “God, who comforts the downcast.”  I had already been pondering comfort, but “downcast” seemed like a mild way to describe what I’d been experiencing.  At any rate, I couldn’t continue reading.  This was for me!

One of the cross references was Psalm 42.  Contrary to my habits (I usually just stay in one section of the Word), I flipped over.  In the next few minutes, the Father laid out a clear “plan of attack” for those overwhelming times.  I wrote it on my hand for two days (just the ‘R’ words)—until I had it locked in my memory.  This is not a secret formula or a miracle cure.  It is not an easy answer for everyone’s depression.  All I’m saying is that God now lets me use it to pull out of the depression ditch whenever I feel it closing in around me again.

Psalm 42:5-6.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you . . . 

REMEMBER the things You’ve [God] done for me.  Like the pattern of Your timing in my life or those many times when You’ve rescued me or revealed Yourself to me.

from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar.  Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls . . .    

07-15 trip to Cherokee (8)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cherokee, North Carolina  (c) Carole Sparks

REFLECT on Your Greatness.  I picture the craggy mountains of Chapman’s Peak (South Africa) when the waves crash against the boulders, Victoria Falls where the midst shrouds the falls but can’t hide the roar, Yosemite Falls and HalfDome, the soft valleys of the Smokies, the way the ocean looks different in Maine than it does in Florida.  I see Your Hand of creation stretched from one to the other, and I stand in awe.


all your waves and breakers have swept over me . . .   

REVEL in Your love sweeping over me like ocean waves.  I will dwell here until I know Your love surrounds me.

remember . . . reflect . . . revel

3 ‘R’s to fight spiritual #depression. I wrote them on my hand. via @Carole_Sparks #NotAboutMe (click to tweet)

What Scripture has God used to lift your heart and mind out of spiritual depression? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!