Stating the obvious, bumper stickers and church signs are often poor venues for declarations requiring nuance, and perhaps one should not put too much effort in analyzing them.  That being said, I ran across a church sign near my house recently that read  “Too Blessed to be Depressed.” These are the same guys whose sign once read “God’s Stimulus Package: The Rapture.” (more on it here) After reading this sign I thought of  the following verses and the tensions contained therein.

Matthew 5:1-4 (NASB)

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

I think about the inference of that sign that it is normative that Christians should always be happy and never depressed.  What that sign can  be is a slap in the face to someone who mourns.  There are strains of Christianity that really think that Christians are never to be in any kind of want, physical or otherwise.  In light of that church sign, I find it ironic that there is a book in the Bible titled Lamentations.  The Psalms are full of lament; some flirt with utter despair. Psalm 88 comes to mind.

Here are a couple of pertinent quotes that I ran across recently to reflect upon in light of the all the aforementioned:

A. W. Tozer: “It is doubtful God can bless any man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”

Alan Redpath: “When God wants to do an impossible task he takes an impossible man and crushes him.”

HT: Abide In Christ

In light of the above:

“…your poverty is no hindrance, for my Master asks nothing from you – the poorer the wretch, the more welcome to Christ. My Master is no covetous priest, who demands pay for what he does – he forgives us freely; he wants none of your merits, nothing whatever from you; come as you are to him, for he is willing to receive you as you are. But here is my sorrow and complaint, that this blessed Lord Jesus, though present to heal, receives no attention from the most of men. They are looking another way, and have no eyes for him…. My Master is not wrathful with you who forget him and neglect him, but he pities you from his heart. I am but his poor servant, but I pity, from my inmost; heart, those of you who live without Christ. I could fain weep for you who are trying other ways of salvation, for they will all end in disappointment, and if continued in, will prove to be your eternal destruction.” -Charles Spurgeon

HT:“Did I Stutter?”

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3 thoughts on “Another church sign

  1. I have to wonder if the folks who carry this type of message have just completely ripped Romans 8 out of their bibles (esp. verse 17), and just ignore the words of Peter in his letters or all of Paul’s telling of his own suffering, or if they’re just being taught by isolated verses and skimming for the flesh instead of reading for truth. There is joy, tremendous, wonderful joy and peace in the midst of trials and suffering, but suffering is, by definition – well, SUFFERing. Joy is not an absence of suffering, it is not the ignoring of suffering, it is not talking yourself into believing that everything is fine when it flatly ain’t fine, it’s the result of knowing your Redeemer and counting His reproach as far greater than the riches of Egypt, knowing something of grief and pain as we have our idols ripped away from us, and as we feel the pain of injustices and sin and death, joy is such that it coexists with the pain, in spite of the pain, because we know and trust that it is all for His glory and our eternal good, so that we glorify Him all the more through it and because of it.

    We humans, we are afraid of pain, so we seek to avoid it and talk ourselves out of it, it’s part of our fallen nature; it’s when we take that fallen nature and use God as an excuse for it and even present His character that way to the world instead of trusting in His goodness in all these things, being submitted to His perfect will, and believing Him when He says, “Fear not, for I am with you always” that He is glorified, even (or especially) in our sufferings. There is a time to laugh and a time to weep, and we are called to weep with those who weep, to bear one another’s burdens, and to pray for one another, which can’t really be done if people deny that such things exist.

  2. OOPS in re-reading the comment I left it looks like I took a couple of extended thoughts and meshed them together wrongly in a sentence in the second paragraph, it is NOT when we present Him wrongly that He is glorified, it is when, by His Spirit, we exhibit a joyful submission even in the midst of deepest trials and pains that He is glorified.

    Maybe I just talk too much and it all gets muddled together. Conciseness was never my strong point. Sorry.

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