To One Who is Depressed by J R Miller
All the passages below are taken from J R Miller, “Intimate Letters on Personal Problems.”
I am glad that you told me the story of your life, for it enables me to think of you more intelligently, and to help you more truly. Let me assure you of the sincerest sympathy with you in the experiences which have seemed to be hard. Yet I would not say a word to make your heart less strong for the meeting of these experiences. Sometimes human sympathy does harm, rather than good — I mean that the sympathy is not of the kind which makes people brave and strong. I want to be to you a friend who will not merely sympathize with you in the things that are painful and hard — but also be a strength to you, an inspiration, an inciter to energy and courage. A true Christian life, is not one that is overmastered by discouragements — but one that meets every hard thing with determination to overcome it. If we are Christians, we should always live victoriously, not only over the sins which beset us and assail us — but also over the trials which make it harder for us to live.
The goodness of God never fails. Being a Christian, you can commit your whole life to Christ with implicit confidence, assured of his loving interest and help. We know that "all things work together for good to those who love God." If you simply love God and trust yourself in his hands — then all things, the hard things as well as the easy, the painful things as well as the pleasant, the losses as well as the gains — all will work together for your good. So I want to help you to be brave and strong for the battle before you.
I fear you have given way somewhat to the feeling of depression. Perhaps it could hardly have been otherwise with you, for you have had many things to depress you. But I want to come into your life as an uplifter, and I want to help you turn your face away from the shadows, from the gloom, from the sorrows and losses — and to face the light, the joy, the blessing and the good. Let nothing whatever dishearten you. Our best friend is not the one who pampers us and pets us and makes us conscious of the sadness of our life — but the friend who helps us to become victor over all these things.
I think I shall not attempt to answer your questions about the one or two texts which are troubling you. Evidently there is a little unwholesomeness in your mind at present, concerning spiritual things. It is never right for us to allow one or two hard words or phrases in the Bible to cause us anxiety. Phrases of this kind do not fairly represent the teaching of the Bible. This we find in such phrases as John 3:16, and countless other passages, where the love of God is represented in such a clear and strong way, that it is impossible for us to fail to understand it. Let me say to you, therefore, once for all, that it is the tempter who is trying to hurt your life, by keeping before your mind the text about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and the sin that cannot be forgiven.
This is a way the tempter has. I have known a great many people who were kept in misery for a long time through one or two of those sayings in the Scriptures which are dark and incomprehensible, and seem somehow to have terror in them. The whole Bible teaches without any question, that everyone who comes to Christ — is welcomed by him, is received with open arms and tender love. There is really no unpardonable sin except the sin of utter and final rejection of Christ. Please fix this truth in your mind and turn away from these painful thoughts which have been perplexing you.
What you say about having in your mind these unhappy thoughts, shows to me that you are not at present altogether well physically. Only a few weeks ago, a young woman came to me with almost precisely the same sort of experience. I try to be a physician for the whole life, for I know that very often some little wrong in the body, casts a shadow over the mind and spirit. I saw at once that the young woman was in unhealthy mood. I sent her to a wise and kindly physician. The physician made a little examination and discovered the secret of the trouble, and, after a few weeks' treatment, the young girl is out in the bright sunshine again. The whole trouble was physical. I want to say to you, therefore, my child, that there is something a little bit wrong with you somewhere in your physical condition, something which makes you sensitive, which makes your brain a little feverish. Either you need a quiet rest or medical treatment in a mild way. One who is perfectly well, is not troubled by such unwholesome feelings and fears as you have.
Pardon me for speaking to you about this, but I want to be to you the truest and best friend possible, a physician indeed, who would help you into the brightest and clearest and happiest life. Let God's sunshine flow about your soul. Do not allow little specks, to darken all the brightness of the sky. Do not allow a little thorn or brier here and there, to make you oblivious of the great garden of roses which spreads before you. You are God's child, and you must rest yourself in your Father's hands, with implicit confidence.
May God's richest and best blessing be upon your life. Put away all the fears — and let the love prevail.