Conquering the Lonely Grave

Darkness.

Deadness.

A lonely grave.

That is what I feel when I say I’m battling depression. I feel almost nothing; save for that tinge of guilt and remorse that I feel for feeling nothing. Beauty is lost. Almost everything seems pointless and hopeless.

Somewhere in the recess of my being I know that the darkness is distorting everything. Yet that small voice of reason is silenced by the apathetic screams in my head. Occasionally I experience fear that the darkness will not break and this ever-pursuing monster will finally swallow me whole.

I read Psalm 88 today.

At least seven times. Not because seven is some holy number but because I could not pull myself away from it. I labored over the words for some twenty minutes and found myself slowly feeling. If one can somehow feel darkness, that is.

I begin to feel a bit of companionship with the one whose only companion is darkness. I realize that in all of his lament his only petition is that the Lord might hear him. It’s as if he is saying, “I just need to know that I’m not utterly forsaken”.

There is great faith in this Psalmist. It looks weak. It looks detestable but it’s about as golden as you can get. It is faith in the darkness. Faith when there is no light. In v.13 he continues to cry to the Lord and once again is met with the hidden face of the Lord. He concludes that his only companion is darkness. Not the Lord. Not his beloved. Not his friends. He’s alone except for his darkness.

Suddenly the lights start to flicker…

This Psalmist is the Lord Jesus. If anyone has been able to truly pray Psalm 88 it is the Suffering Servant. The One that was smitten. Forsaken. Crushed by the Lord. It was He that said, “my soul is very sorrowful, even to death”. This is Jesus’ prayer of affliction.

Then I realize that no matter how deep in the pit I descend (v.6) I know that the Lord Jesus has sank further. And I remember that He did not stay there. I remember that the God of my salvation does indeed “work wonders for the dead”? I know that I share in His resurrection.

This means far more than being rescued from depression. I might have to wander around for awhile groping in the darkness, carrying around deadness in my being. But that is not the end of the story. I’ll be rescued from far more than depression. I’m being rescued from death itself and everything that is dark.

The One whose only companion truly was darkness plunged the depths so that this Psalm would never actually be true for me. It only feels like darkness is my sole companion. It’s not. Jesus is there. In the darkness. In the midst of my deadness. Fully present in His love and conquering grace.

He conquered the lonely grave. I can’t. And thankfully I don’t have to.

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