Archive for April, 2012

The Vine of Depression


I just finished a week of clearing underbrush, tree tops left over from a logging crew and ripping vines from trees that have been allowed to grow together for years.  It was good to have good equipment, guys that knew how to operate it and women who kept us hydrated and fed.


We pushed a lot of stuff, pulled quite a bit and then bush hogged what was left.  We kept big fires going to burn all that we cleared.  It was hard but it was fun.  At the end of the week it was good to see all that we had accomplished. 


The thing that stands out the most was the vines.  We pulled a lot of them out.  One was about 4 inches at the base.  We hooked to it and started pulling.  We just kept pulling and kept ripping it away from the tree it had grown into.  It was so big when we got it out that I wanted to take a picture of it . . . but didn’t.  I was impressed by how taken over a tree could look . . . and then how perfectly free and clear it looked when we pulled the vine out of it.


I think people allow vines to grow alongside them.  Over the years they get intertwined in every fiber of their being.  Vines dictate how we think.  We are strapped by them to think the way they suggest we think.  After all, they have been there along side us for years and years shaping and swaying us to believe what they want us to believe. 


One way of thinking that I have been a little mindful of lately is depression.  The vine of depression simply suggests something that will start a person down a path that leads to being depressed . . . some more than others.  The same would be true with temptation and other problems.  But the point is that the vines become so intertwined that a person can feel they have no choice.  I have fought through a couple of my vines/demons, so I finally know there is a choice.  But how do you get someone else to see there is a choice – that there is help?


I had an interesting thought about removing vines that I think helps make the point that I feel about them.  As humans, all we could do to remove them was to hook on to their bases and pull.  We got them out but we ripped everything it was attached to.  By trying to remove a vine from another person, if we’re not careful, we can sometimes approach it the same way – just hook on and pull.  The ripping effect may cause more trouble than it solves. 


The thing that helped me was time with God.  God doesn’t rip from the bottom like we do.  He has a unique position of being able to start delicately from the top.  As we spend time with Him, He can remove this part of the vine and then that one until, if we stay with Him long enough, we will be free from its grasp. 


The other thing that has contributed to my being mindful of the depression issue is my reading in the Psalms.  David suffered from it as much as anyone.  In Psalm 21 he rejoices in the strength he has received from God, that He has granted him the desires of his heart and that He has bestowed on him splendor and majesty. 


In Psalm 22 everything has changed.  He felt God had forsaken him and that He was far from helping him.  And the thing that is so typical with depression . . . the focus on how much better everyone else has it.  Likewise David said, ‘Our fathers trusted and You delivered them, but I am a worm.’

I don’t know why God let’s us simmer so long before He decides to step in and help.  Like David said more than once, ‘How long oh Lord, how long’.  But in spite of how long David had to sometimes wait, he was convinced that God was his deliverer.  I like what he says in Psalm 22, which is the one where he is having a very difficult time; in spite of all he concludes with ‘you have made me trust in you’.  It was ingrained into him. 


Though a vine of depression was allowed to grow, still his roots were in God and he knew where his help came from.  He knew that God was a refuge for any who put their trust in Him.  In Psalm 28 he says, ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts him, and I am helped’.  In 29 he says, ‘The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace’. 


God’s word is true.  He is our refuge and help in times of trouble.  Though He may let us simmer a little longer than we think is right, He is still our help.  When the world caves in us, He is not stumped or backed into a corner.  Even in the worst of circumstances, He can bless with peace.  He can dismantle ever so delicately the vines that we have permitted over the years to grow into every fabric of our being.  He better than anyone else knows how to set us free form their grasp.    


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