This week we’ve explored how Elijah must have felt as he experienced the lowest of lows in his life. We’ve related the lessons from Elijah to those times when we’ve gone through real depression or we’ve walked beside a loved one suffering from it. Today, let this imaginative exercise place you in the shoes of a fellow believer, a member of our church community who is struggling through depression. Imagine what it would look like for them to come to a Sunday morning service.
Breathe. Just breathe. You can do this. You got out of bed. You made yourself eat breakfast even though you had no appetite. You can do this. As you approach the front doors, two smiling faces greet you. Hands extended, welcoming you here. “Good morning,” they say. You hope so. Last night was long. Sleepless and long. Hopefully this morning will be different. As you walk toward the sanctuary you keep your eyes trained on the floor. Tugging your jacket closer though it’s already warming up to be another Colorado day, you hope you aren’t noticed. You can just slip in the back and you’ll be fine. If you need to leave early that’s fine too. You just don’t want anyone to see you or talk to you. Too late. Someone you met at a prayer group the week before catches your eye and starts to head your direction. Embracing you she says, “It’s so good to see you.” When the words finally register, they clang against the stream of inner narrative that had been playing in your head all night: “People don’t want me around.” You respond, hoping she doesn’t see through your weak smile and tired eyes. You think: “Really? It’s good to see me?” You expect her to move on to her seat, leaving you to find yours alone. But she doesn’t. Her next words make it more possible to believe her first ones: “Let’s go grab a seat over there together. Service is about to start.” As you settle in your seat you battle doubts about coming. The bed would have been better. Away from people. Away from pressure. Away from expectations. Oh, but you need this worship time. You need the prayer. You need the teaching. And you know it. And so you have willed yourself to come. To bring your downtrodden, tired, and anxious self to a gathering where you know you will hear truth and you will fight to believe it. Tears stream and you can hardly sing the lyrics to the songs. During the greeting time the people in front of you turn to say hello. Warm smiles and greetings are given as you muster the strength to return them. Do they see? Do they know? After service you wish you had the courage to go up front for prayer. Maybe next week. But how will that go? You asked for prayer a few weeks ago for your depression. Will they be impatient about your progress or lovingly pray again?
By Ellen Rosenberger