Dear Esther
If you are having a challenging day or burdened with some personal problems, then you can be sure others are too. Write to Esther and she will have some good sound biblical advice and answers for you. You will be helping others by sharing your need or concern. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).


You can email your question to Esther at:
dearesther7@yahoo.com

    



January 5, 2015

Dear Esther,

I appreciate reading all of your gracious responses. So much so I mustered the energy to write. I’m 49, a general surgeon, divorced but remarried to a wonderful man. I love the Lord with all of my mind, heart and soul. I’ve been a Christian for 30 years and love to study the Bible (in fact that is my only interest). Everything else is drudgery.

I’m well versed in Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments and have hidden much of the Word in my heart. I hold a weekly Bible study for 12-18 year olds. I pray with my patients often. I have a wonderful life now (I’ve been through my share of suffering over the years; no need to get into all of that—God has used it all for my good). Despite all of this I deal with profound depression on a daily basis and continually pray for God to take me home.

I am secretly jealous of those with terminal illnesses. I can’t understand when Christians want prayer for healing for cancer. Are you kidding? “You actually want to stay here instead of go to heaven?”

I hate this sin-sick world, everything about it, and especially my own sin above all. There are days I don’t feel I can tolerate it here for another hour. I have no meaningful relationships. Probably for a number of reasons: I don’t know anyone who truly loves the Lord and walks closely with Him.

Because of my depression, I choose to keep people at arm’s length. No one is allowed too close. I consider that too dangerous. My own husband does not know the depth of my depression. I would not want to burden him, besides it would be a bad Christian witness. If it wasn’t for my fear of the Lord and desire for His will, I would probably have found a way to exit this physical existence years ago.

Every day, I tell myself to be strong and courageous, hope in the Lord, trust in Him. All of my youthful dreams have been shattered. I don’t look forward to anything in the future except for my soul leaving my body and meeting Jesus face to face and being transformed into His likeness. Until then, I go on, being strong and courageous and enduring to the end, praying for God to hasten that day. I wish my story was different. But there it is. Don’t feel obligated to answer. Thanks for listening.

Janet (Homesick)


Dear Janet,

I feel for you so very much. Your feelings are very understandable. I think it is admirable that you don’t incessantly whine about your depression to others. You certainly are showing emotional and spiritual maturity by relying upon your faith and love for the Lord, and not zapping others with your own personal pain. You see the world for the corrupt and deceptive place that it is and you essentially have had enough of it.

I am not saying we shouldn’t share with others but there comes a point where maturity in our walk with Christ becomes evident. By taking self-responsibility for what you are going through, by using self-control and not acting like the worldly lost—creating one emotional drama after another—you are operating from a high spiritual level.

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).

God bless you for your thoughtfulness and your obedience to Christ. As you know, it is by our behavior that our true condition with Christ is revealed. One of the Lord’s admonitions is to be fruitful in our spiritual growth—which is evidenced in the way we behave, treat others and respond to day to day situations.

You are a great testament to the admonitions given in the following Scriptures:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love” (2 Peter 1:5-7).

We are to share our burdens with one another as Scripture teaches but not in a way that is an ongoing saga or drama that takes us away from the Lord’s teachings -- by acting like those who are lost in the world. Your thoughtfulness and maturity could be emulated by many who are unstable emotionally and spiritually; those who allow their self-centered emotions to rule them.

Chronic neediness, emotional and reactionary outbursts are not glorifying to God. That kind of behavior indicates a lack of maturity, is self-serving and only works to alienate others. And as you already mentioned, weakens our Christian witness.

In your case, you have matured to a point where you see the futility of what the world has to offer and you are totally sufficient in Christ.

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9-10)

Essentially you are praying for a one way ticket HOME. I can understand that. I can think of a number of true believers who would like to have a one-way ticket too, and as soon as possible.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

A side effect of emotional and spiritual maturity is that we can acutely feel more and more out-of-step with the world, even often with those we are closest to. It makes life on this dark and harrowing planet with its cultural decadence very hard to take much of the time.

Depression can be very debilitating. I am amazed at how you are carrying on as a surgeon and with your life in general. As far as mentioning that you don’t have any meaningful relationships—because you don’t know anyone who truly loves the Lord and is [genuinely] walking closely with Him. That also is very understandable.

It is hard to find authenticity. I can totally understand why you don’t want to get involved with others, too closely. Too many people cannot be trusted and it is wise to keep them at arm’s length as you do. We are living in the time of the apostasy and far too many people have hidden prideful selfish agendas, although they may boldly profess Christ in their daily lives.

But their actions or inactions reveal the truth of who they really are. Instead of taking responsibility for their own weak character flaws and sinful behaviors they attack others.

They are not unlike the Pharisees who unjustly criticize others when they don’t get their way (while the entire time trying to show themselves to be righteous individuals). They are disingenuous and go to any and all lengths to attempt to personally destroy good people through character assassination and other reprehensible means.

So why wouldn’t you be feeling so detached and yearning to be free of this world?

The back-stabbing that goes on and the competitive jealousies are too many to count. It is truly shocking, the type of malice and vicious behavior that goes on not only in the secular world but within “Christian” circles. These dynamics are prophetic and will only get worse as Scripture warns. You know the passage:

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28-32).

Janet, I think you see things for what they are and because you are truly devoted to the Lord, you have no desire to be stuck in this wretched world and partake its fraudulent dynamics.

Nevertheless, one thing that keeps coming to mind when I think of you and pray, is that the Lord has work for you to do—as long as you are still alive in this fallen world. He has placed you in an important position. He has given you a brilliant mind and loves you beyond measure.

Sometimes I will tell myself I am away on a trip. Although I don’t like some of the highways and byways, nor the accommodations and some of the people I must deal with, I take great comfort in knowing I will be going to my real home when the Lord deems it so -- either when He calls us home in the Rapture at the last trump, or when I take my last breath. Jesus truly is our Blessed Hope.

Once we reach a point in our walk with the Lord when we really get—that this life is so temporary and filled with corruption and deceit, we have little room left for pretending this world is worth striving in. But we must trust. Until the day we die or are taken up in the Rapture we must trust Him that this is where He has placed us and we are to be His ambassadors.

Even if we touch a handful of lives, we are doing His work. You already know the best place to gain our strength is in the prayer closet where we can become energized and renewed. Janet, you have tremendous opportunities to reach others for Christ as you are doing, and you should not underestimate how valuable you are to Him in this spiritual battle in which we are engaged.

You are obviously a very special woman. Once we realize the enormity of heaven and that God Almighty has future plans for us in a place that is so amazing we cannot even describe it, it is easy to get restless.

But look how the Lord is using you! You teach a Bible class for those who are at a very vulnerable young age. You are giving them solid grounding in the Word of God which is needed so very much needed. Too many preteens and teens are floundering.

You are well-versed in the Scriptures, you even pray with your patients. Now that is amazing in this day and age when our faith is being attacked daily. You are a doctor, a general surgeon (no doubt an exceptional one). You have a great husband now. That alone is a miracle, don’t you think? :) No, offense meant to the wonderful godly men out there!

Janet, I get the impression that you are a beautiful woman all the way around. Depression can be a monster but greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). As far as having meaningful associations you are probably better off without them for the reasons mentioned earlier.

The fact that the only thing you love to do is study your Bible should earn you multiple, mega crowns in heaven. You are way ahead of so many professing Christians. It is shameful how so many are poorly versed in the Scriptures and have little or no interest in studying their Bibles. They are often too busy participating in secular-based venues, yet proclaim they are, “Doing it for Jesus.” But their real motives are to build-up themselves.

You have been faithful to God’s command to be an [active] disciple by consistently studying His Word and being faithful in your Christian walk. You have the right motives and are not self-serving. You understand and live John 3:30:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

I get so many letters from people; some have enormous, mind-blowing problems. Janet, you know that you have so many blessings. You have a great profession, a wonderful husband and a way to share the gospel with others and guide them, too. You are one talented lady and we need you. God needs you. This broken world needs you. Never underestimate the tremendous godly influence you have upon many lives as you go through your daily routines.

Now the devil—Satan, he is the one who is an expert at trying to rob us of our joy. You are too smart to allow him to wreak havoc upon your life and keep you in a state of depression. Have you ever considered that the Lord has placed you in the first line of defense in this spiritual war because He knows you can handle it?

Since you are proficient in the Scriptures, surely you know that we MUST dress for battle every day with the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:14-20). You can beat the father of lies at his own game by being aware of his desire to thwart you from being any godly good for the Lord. In Christ you can stand-up and claim your victory over all the demonic forces in this world.

Janet, you have a mission to complete for Christ and He has placed you in a position of greatness. Armor yourself with the Word of God and don’t be fooled by Satan’s attempt to undermine the good you are doing. Consider yourself an agent for God’s purposes. (Keep that thought in your mind!)

You are in a foreign land. You want to go home, but your Lord has entrusted you to stand on the front lines for Him. You will not let Him down. And He is right there with you. He is counting on you. When He does call you home, you will be SO GLAD you fought the good fight and finished the race (2 Timothy 4:7).

“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48b).

Consider Christ’s incredible sacrifice, and with that sacrifice He promises us an eternity of never-ending joy. As believers, He asks us to sacrifice for His sake. All that matters in this life is what we do for Christ, for eternity. (But you already know that.)

So please keep up the great job you are doing as the Lord’s faithful servant and before you know it your desire to be home with Him will become a forever and ever reality.

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

Don’t let the devil outwit you in this life and death battle for humanity’s souls. Please continue the great work you are doing for His sake. Carry on and keep Matthew 25:21 in the forefront of your mind every day:

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”

Please keep in touch with me, Janet, and let me know how you are doing.

With much compassion and love,

Esther

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).