Confessions Of A Depressed Christian: Psalm 42

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As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (vs.1-2)

…and normally we all stop at the end of verse 2, there. Because, as bite-sized verses go, this one looks great as a bumper sticker, or on a tee-shirt, or put in with whatever inspirational “quiet-time” picture you’re posting to Insta-Twit-Face. It is seen as someone engaged in a passionate worship session. Indeed, one of the first worship songs I learned to play on guitar years and years ago for the youth group cribbed the first verse as its focus.

But, there’s more to this Psalm than just that. There’s this immediate passage:

My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” (v.3)

…that tends to kicks the expectations of those seeking only life-affirming, positive happy thoughts from the Psalms right in the Olsteens.

This is a lament. Well, technically, this is listed as a maskil, which–after doing a quick Google search to make me sound all smart and stuff–I’m told is a Hebrew term that may mean a “contemplative poem” in this context, but scholars (i.e.–people who are way smarter than I am) aren’t entirely sure.

What I do know is that, this particular Psalm was written by the sons of Korah, descendants of the Levite that attempted a coup against Moses in Numbers chapter 16. These “sons of Korah” are a testament to GOD’s ongoing and powerful grace and mercy in not holding it against Korah’s sin against his decedents, as they remained faithful to GOD and served in His temple. But, that’s besides the point of this rambling article I started.

Let’s read the rest of the Psalm:
These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (vs.4-11)

I can only imagine what was the writer of this Psalm was experiencing emotionally as he was penning these words. Personally, I can identify greatly with his words of anguish as he longs to seek the Lord, thirsty as we are of water, only to find feelings of abandonment, dark loneliness, suffering from what Martin Luther called “the dark night of the soul,” while his enemies and critics constantly mock him for continuing to seek after GOD, Who from their perspective, has completely abandoned him.

Some days…okay, some entire months it seems that the depression I suffer is soul-crushing, and I am alone in the pitch darkness. But, like this particular Psalmist, my lament always ends, despite all the hopelessness, the self-loathing, the pain of living, the suffocating darkness, with the admonition to “put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Not because it magically fixes everything I’m going through (far from it); instead, it’s really the only thing I can do.

Praise the Lord, oh my soul…

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Obligatory Pious-Sounding Lent Post, 2020 Edition

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Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. The beginning of what we devout types refer to as Lent, the six week period leading up to Easter. Basically, a time of fasting and abstinence from something that’s considered important to them. Sometimes it’s something obvious, like chocolate, or television, or even avoiding the internet somehow. Nowadays, swearing off the internet for 40 days is equal to, if not worse than, swearing off sex for a perpetual horn-dog. I wouldn’t know anything about that later part.

“What are you giving up for Lent?” That’s a question that I’ve come across with less frequency than back when I was in primary and high school. But it does pop up every year. I’ve never really participated in the abstinence part of Lent growing up, despite growing up in a Methodist-based family. Later, after I began my ongoing post-Evangelical wilderness wanderings, my answer would be, “I gave up Lent for Lent.” Ha ha, funny. Pause for laughter. Such wit.

Personally, this year I believe it would be beneficial for me to instead use the time to study the Scriptures, expand my knowledge through books and studies, instead of “giving something up.” I’m doing this all the time; I just want to focus more on this during the Lenten period, rather than distract myself with other pursuits. That’s not to say that I won’t take the time to take in a movie or actually do something to enjoy life. I’m not pious, you know.

For others, to give up something during this time of reflection on the ministry of Jesus, His road leading up to the cross, His death and resurrection, would be beneficial. For me, what I detailed is what I’m going to be focusing on mainly during the next 39 days. Everything I’ve already scheduled to be posted won’t be changed–I’d hate to disrupt the ongoing 366 Days Of Metal thing–but I’ll definitely get back to things after Easter Sunday. Cheers, all, and don’t overdo it on the Cadbury Eggs…

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This Is How “Amish Vampires in Space” Got Started…

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buttery moist and completely french

Last weekend, a friend posted on her Facebook page a picture of the bread she found at the local Trader Joe’s in Omaha, proclaiming it to be the best and most delicious kind of French bread she’s found in a store. Or something like that. She also posted a picture of the wrapper (that’s not it up there, btw); it was the slogan underneath the label that got my attention: “Buttery, Moist and Perfectly French”. I quipped in her post that “Buttery, Moist and Perfectly French” was the name of my upcoming Christian romance novel. Laughs all around…

…however, due to the way my brain works, something inside me took that and actually ran with some ideas of a satirical Christian romance story based on that alone. As a matter of fact, ideas are falling into place far easier than it deserves to. To the point where I have a very rough bare-bones outline for at least a short story.

Will I end up writing something? Probably, as that’s how I make the voices in my head go quiet. Maybe I’ll even post it for all the world to scoff at. All I know is, I’m going to have to bone up on Christian romance stories to get a grasp on the structure and tropes, and maybe also go to a Trader Joe’s to research the interior design or something.

Also, “bone up” probably wasn’t the best choice of words to use this early in the morning…

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What About The Smoke Machines + Lasers?

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Recently, I’ve been binge-reading a web comic called Dumbing Of Age. Without going into the details of how I discovered it (it involves several internet rabbit-holes, trust me), this is one of the comics by David Willis, whose Shortpacked! strip was one of my favorites back in the Aughts. Anyway, this one deals more with college co-eds from different backgrounds, the main one having been raised in a sheltered, ultra-Fundamentalist Christian family.

While going through the strips, I happened upon this one:

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…to quote from the Phoenix Preacher, make your own application.

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Darker Musings…

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Images flashing in my brain: Me placing the business end of a pistol in my mouth, chewing on the cold metal, tasting the oil and metallic tang; numb emotionally, pausing, savoring the eternity between now and when my finger rests on the trigger…one question remains, do I close my eye? Or do I leave them open to see what happens after my brains are splattered behind me? Sweet, instantaneous oblivion, or will there be a lingering couple of seconds as reality melts away from my sight? I shall never know…

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GOD ETERNAL

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Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. — Psalm 90:1-2

How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation. — Daniel 4:3

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. — 1 Timothy 1:17

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive yout your enemies before you, saying, ‘Destroy them!’ — Deuteronomy 33:27

But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. — Psalm 102:12

But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. — Jeremiah 10:10

But you remain the same, and your years will never end. — Psalm 102:27

366 DAYS OF METAL: “Born Dead” (Death)

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