Even the most “seasoned” lover of God has a hard day. Bill Johnson wrote in Strengthen Yourself in the Lord that he usually lives about three minutes away from depression. The key to overcoming a challenging day or a rough week or month is to look at Jesus.
The Shulamite had this problem in Song of Solomon. Concerned that the King would be disappointed in her because of her “dark and sinful ways” she makes a heartfelt plea for Him to still accept her and give her His undivided attention. “For I wish to be wrapped all around you…it is you I long for, with no veil between us.”
It’s easy to lose sight of the Lord during a challenging week. I’m a teacher, and challenging weeks are regularly the norm unfortunately. Student attitudes, ever-changing and increasing responsibilities from the Department of Education, working to appease administration…it all gets to be too much some weeks. Add in the stress of a large family along with a home renovation that seems to be never-ending and it gets seemingly impossible.
But there’s a solution.
His name is Love.
The King tells the Shulamite in vs. 8 of chapter one of Song of Solomon, “If you ever lose sight of me, just follow in my footsteps where I lead my lovers.”
Go to the place he dwells. A person’s footsteps will always lead to where they are. This is the same of our Delightful Lover.
Follow him to his dwelling place. Follow the rabbit trail to where he leads you.
Get into scripture and meditate on His love and adoration of you. Song of Solomon 4 in the Passion Translation is good for this: “Listen, my dearest darling, you are so beautiful-you are beauty itself to me!”
Meditate on His huge love for you. Meditate on the gospel Paul preaches in Romans 5-8. Meditate on a few Psalms.
These are not formulas to get into a good mood. This is a lifestyle, the Song Lifestyle of staying in a good mood because you’re constantly looking at Jesus. Psalm 27:4 is the cry of many hearts: “One thing have I asked of the Lord; that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and inquire in his temple (ESV).”
It’s quite difficult to stay depressed and angry and hurt if you’re gazing upon the beauty of the Lord and allowing Him, through His word, to tell you how beautiful you are to Him!
Drop off your Troubles
The King continues, “Come with your burdens and cares. Come to the place near the sanctuary of my shepherds–there you will find me.”
John Crowder, although it wasn’t him originally, preaches about the four levels of prayer. The first level is exactly this: giving God your cares and troubles.
This is when you are going down the list of concerns you have. You’re asking God for your Aunt Maebell’s healing and your mother’s hip surgery to go well. You’re asking for strength to go back to work tomorrow. You’re praying about getting the car payment in on time. You’re thanking God for what He has yet to do, but you know in faith that it’s going to get done.
The second level is meditation. That’s when you’re thinking deeply on a certain scripture or a promise God gave you, maybe a prophetic word. You’re out of the realm of just going down your prayer list and now you’re in more of a quiet time or meditative time. For me, this is a time when I’m repeating the scriptures over and over and praying in the spirit. I vacillate between moments of quiet and moments of praying out loud. I’m getting a prophetic download during this time or I’m being comforted.
The two other levels are union and ecstasy. You realize your union with the Lord. You don’t know where you end and He begins. Then you can wind up in a wild ecstasy completely caught up with Him.
None of this is a work though.
You just go with the flow.
The point is, when you’re feeling depressed or stressed out, you follow the footsteps of Jesus and you’ll be led to a place of peace. You’ll find yourself with your head in His lap or back to back with hHm and your breathing matches His. You’re one. You’re at rest.
Uncovering your Beauty
Suddenly, you’ll be led into the House of Wine and the Lover will lock you in with Him. He’ll throw away the key and you’ll find yourself lost in the cloud-filled glory of the Lord. “You are so thrilling to me,” says the King in Song of Solomon. “To gaze upon you is like looking at one of Pharaoh’s finest horses-a strong steady stead pulling his royal chariot.”
The Lover looks at you and sees nothing but brilliance and beauty. He is enamored by your life and by His life within you! “When I look at you I see that you have taken my fruit and tasted my Word. Your life has become clean and pure, like a lamb washed and newly shorn (SoS 4).”
He has planted inside you what draws Him to you. He loves the way His life inside you looks. It makes you beautiful, it makes you attractive. He’s undone for you. You’re undone for Him. You are two lovers enchanted by Love!
Be at rest in the love and grace of God. Let yourself be surrounded by the Lover. Psalm 125 says it beautifully, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.”
You are completely surrounded by Him, the glorious Lover. He is strong and sure and competent. You are safe and secure. He truly has hemmed you in, in front and behind, and has put his hand over you (Psalm 139).