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by Fred Pruitt

Someone recently wrote me and was concerned about his wife being depressed, and wanted me to write something to help her out.

Dear _________,

You have said it yourself, your wife is going through a "spiritual trial," and there is no set of words I can give you except what is to me the truth. First of all, you have to realize that all "negatives," i.e. all "darknesses" are simply the raw material upon which the Positive is built, and the darkness is the empty place that MUST BE in order for the light to shine. So when you say your wife "feels nothing of God" then PRAISE THE LORD, because now she is moving from babyhood (having to have feelings and assurances) to adulthood, which means we learn to live out of our inner resources and no longer rely on the outer things of life, but on God Only.

God is not "feeling," and we don't "feel Him" most of the time, because feeling is an emotion, a "soul" thing. Within us, where we are joined with Him Spirit to spirit, is below the level of feelings. Feelings go up and down, in and out, and we tend to think everything is OK if we feel okay, or conversely something is wrong when we feel depressed or negative. But the Scripture exhorts us to first of all "give thanks in ALL things," and that EVERY DAY (also meaning every circumstance, thought, feelings, emotion, desire, etc. -- i.e. anything we can think or conceive of) is the "DAY the Lord hath made, let us rejoice in it and be glad!" That's where we start.

Now that's not necessarily a welcome message when we're feeling great feelings of depression or self-loathing, or fear, or whatever negative thing we might experience. I don't know, obviously, for certain what is causing your wife's situation. Sometimes things have a medical reason, and we trust the Lord to lead us to those solutions if they are the right ones and we thank Him for His life in a medical solution, and we thankfully use those methods if appropriate, as being Him. But sometimes these negatives just come to us with no particular explanation or reason that we can determine, but in either case, we give thanks in all things and rejoice for "This is the Day the Lord hath made." That is the truth in everything everyday, regardless of appearances.

Can I give you "wonderful words" that will help your wife get beyond this, as you have asked? If you're wanting magic, then no, I can't. The answer for any of us in ANY circumstance is faith, and faith isn't something you feel. It is simply SPEAKING a word of agreement with what God has shown us as truth, regardless, I say again, of appearances to the contrary.

It's like "romance" in a way. Most people who are married started out with romantic feelings for one another, but almost everybody will tell you that after while those romantic "feelings" don't come around as much as they used to, and often they are felt, if at all, very infrequently. God uses those romantic feelings to get people together, but they're not what keeps us together, because those romantic feelings aren't the true love. True love in marriage is deeper and more lasting than romance, and doesn't depend one iota on whether we "feel" romantically inclined or not. Love, like faith, comes from within us (from God within) and is true whether we feel loving or not.

It is the same in our life in Christ. It is common for people starting out to have great euphoria and "spiritual experiences," but after awhile, like romantic feelings, we don't have that anymore, or it is less frequent. And that is when the rubber meets the road. Do we still love when we don't feel it, or is God still there when we don't "feel" Him? Many people in marriage drop out at that point, because they don't "feel in love" any more. But how shallow a thing is that? Love is steadfast, unmoveable, and seeks not its own -- something for itself. So we go on loving because we ARE love, and don't live from simply outer emotion or fuzzy feelings. Trust and faith and love are all of this eternal invisible unfelt dimension that is within each of us, and that is what "trials" are intended to produce, the realization that we stand on an unmoveable ROCK that is solid and unfailing eternally -- that's faith tried in the fire that comes out as pure gold, and is something that GOD DOES, and we are not responsible to produce it!

That's why James says to "count it all joy" when we are tried. Notice he says, "Count," not "feel." In other words, we stand by faith on what IS, (CHrist in us), rather than the ever-changing sea of emotions and thoughts.

So there you are. Rejoice, because whom the Lord loves, He "chastens," and that doesn't mean a "spanking" for doing wrong, but rather the absolutely best "lesson" chosen by the Loving Father who knows exactly the right times and circumstances for each of us individually, that it takes to bring us to the end of our supposedly (in our own minds) self-sufficient selves, and to the further seeing of the truth of Himself in us, as ourselves. You and your wife are in God's PERFECT place, and therefore I say praise God and thank Him for depression, or whatever comes your way, because as the scriptures says, "All things comes of THee O Lord." You are both right where the Father has you for your own maturing and then out from you, from the gold of your faith tried in the fire, to affect the world God has put you in.

All my love,