Child of God

He's got the whole world in His hands!

Moore Nature Reserve, Warrington

“The heavens praise your wonder, O Lord, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.” (Psalm 89:5)

Hello again. I hope you’re all doing okay in the grand scheme of things. We went to Moore Nature Reserve in Warrington a couple of weekends ago. It’s not far from us and we’ve been meaning to visit for a while. The last time we tried, it was all fenced off for Covid but it was worth the wait. It’s a lovely, peaceful place.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” (Psalm 23:1)

As the Lord is the good shepherd, so we are His sheep – not frightened, passive animals, but obedient followers, wise enough to follow one who will lead us to the right places in the right way.

With all that’s going on in the world right now, it’s hardly surprising that so many people are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. We’ve only just got over the pandemic and now there’s the war, the crushing economic crisis, prices of fuel, food and energy sky-high! There doesn’t seem an end to it all…

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)

There are several people in the Bible who suffered from depression, to such an extent where they contemplated suicide. These include:

• Job • Abraham • Jeremiah • Jonah • King Saul • Elijah • King David

Not even godly people are exempt from this condition. Sometimes, depression has a physical cause, rather than emotional. There are brain chemical imbalances that can cause severe depression but these are treatable. At other times, depression can be caused by emotional upheavals.

It’s important to realise that our emotions cannot change our state of salvation. We might have doubts and fears but God’s word is certain and sure. We can depend on His unchanging nature. Our emotions can alter from day to day but God never changes. His word gives a believer so much hope and has real power to encourage us.

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)

I have been susceptible to anxiety and depression throughout my life, starting at the age of 13. This episode was triggered by a prolonged period of bullying when I was at the local grammar school. It started simply because I objected to the fact that a group of boys were throwing books and board dusters around a classroom, while waiting for the teacher to come in. I was accused of being “an old goat”. I was 13 years old at the time.

18 months of systematic bullying followed this incident. I was called names, ridiculed, ostracised and, when I took five weeks off school during a spell of jaundice, rumours were circulated that I had undergone an abortion during this time. I was a child and I hadn’t even had a boyfriend at this stage.

The situation at school spilled over into my time off, as I constantly fretted about what I could do. I tried everything, from ignoring them to retaliating to trying to laugh it off – all to no avail. Even now, so many years later, I am appalled at the cruelty of a bunch of teenagers. The teachers either didn’t notice or didn’t care. I certainly received no assistance from them.

My mum noticed that I was becoming ill, not eating, and fretting all the time. She tried to talk to me about it but I was just too ashamed to tell her. I was embarrassed that I had been singled out for this treatment. In desperation, she took me to our local GP, who asked if anything was bothering me; I said no. He sent my mum out of the room and asked me again but I was afraid to confide in him, in case he told my mum. All he could do was prescribe anti-depressants for me.

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10)

I wasn’t originally planning to share this story with you but it does explain what triggered my initial period of depression and anxiety. I didn’t know the Lord at the time this happened; that came much later. I don’t know how different my reactions would have been but suspect they may have been more positive. I would have known for sure that the Lord was with me and on my side. He would surely have given me the strength and the courage to face this hideous situation with Him by my side.

I know that bullying is very prevalent in schools these days, especially cyber bullying. This was not the case in my days, long before the internet was invented! I have finally forgiven these people for what they put me through – I have to forgive them, as Jesus asks us to forgive others, like He has forgiven us.

I just want to say that life is not always easy and often very difficult. But we need to remind ourselves that this life is only temporary – our real life starts when Jesus returns for us.

I wish you all a peaceful, healthy and pleasant weekend. I will not apologise for saying yet again:

No Christ, no hope – know Christ, no hope!

Love Ann

“So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)