A Voice in the
"I know that wise brethren say, 'You should not give way to feelings of depression.' If those who blame quite so furiously could once know what depression is, they would think it cruel to scatter blame where comfort is needed. There are experiences of the children of God which are full of spiritual darkness; and I am almost persuaded that those of God's servants who have been most highly favoured have, nevertheless, suffered more times of darkness than others.
"The covenant is never known to Abraham so well as when a horror of great darkness comes over him, and then he sees the shining lamp moving between the pieces of the sacrifice. A greater than Abraham was early led of the Spirit into the wilderness, and yet again ere He closed His life He was sorrowful and very heavy in the garden.
"No sin is necessarily connected with sorrow of heart, for Jesus Christ our Lord once said, 'My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.' There was no sin in Him, and consequently none in His deep depression.
"I would, therefore, try to cheer any brother who is sad, for his sadness is not necessarily blameworthy. If his downcast spirit arises from unbelief, let him flog himself, and cry to God to be delivered from it; but if the soul is sighing--'though he slay me, yet will I trust in him'--its being slain is not a fault.
"The way of sorrow is not the way of sin, but a hallowed road sanctified by the prayers of myriads of pilgrims now with God--pilgrims who, passing through the valley of Baca [lit: of weeping], made it a well, the rain also filled the pools: of such it is written: 'They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.'
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassions and God of all comfort, who encourages us in all our affliction, that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction, through the comfort by which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our comfort also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation, being effective in the endurance of the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are encouraged, it is for your comfort and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the comfort. For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened exceedingly, beyond strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us, in whom we hope that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given through many persons on our behalf for the gracious gift granted to us by many." (2Co1:3-11)