The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Back in the era of English theaters and circuses, a patient suffering from deep depression went to a psychiatrist seeking help. The wise Doctor’s prescription after the examination seemed to make sense, “Go and entertain yourself by seeing the famous clown Grimaldi who is performing in the circus in our town today. His antics are bound to make you laugh. You would surely find some relief”. Much to the Doctor’s surprise, the patient instantly broke down. He could barely hear the patient mutter the words “Doc, I am Grimaldi.”
Depression is a terrible and dangerous condition suffered by more people that we can imagine. A person can seem to be just fine. He can be laughing and humorous on the outside while desperately hurting on the inside. I had a friend many years ago who didn’t seem to have one serious bone in his body. He was always laughing and taking every situation, no matter how serious, and make a joke of it. Little did I know that this young man was suffering from a life filled with pain and disappointment. It broke my heart to see his life fall apart around him as the depression of his mind wrecked every relationship in his life.
In the 16th chapter of 1 Samuel, right after the anointing of David to be the new King of Israel, the outgoing King Saul, had a unique experience. Verses 14-16 say, “Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.”
In the New Testament Scriptures we are introduced to God’s plan that every believer and follower of Jesus Christ should receive the gift of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. This is a huge upgrade from the Old Testament days when the only ones to receive this gift were Prophet’s, Priest’s and Kings.
When Saul became King the Holy Spirit moved into his life to offer guidance, strength and comfort. In John 14:26, Jesus promised his disciples that the Father would send them the Advocate, or Comforter, the Holy Spirit who would come in his name.
The Greek word, “paraclete” used here literally means “one who comes along beside.”
When Saul lost the comfort of the Holy Spirit, a replacement came, a spirit of depression. He was inconsolable without his helper, his comforter. As a result, the decision was made to find a musician who could play beautiful music to bring comfort to the King. It is no coincidence that his future replacement, David would be called upon to come entertain and comfort the tormented Saul by playing his lyre which he had practiced for years on his sheep. David did a great service to the king, but the depression would continue to recur for years until Saul’s death. His torment would not be healed by the temporary refuge of entertainment.
Only when God lives inside you can you experience the healing power that transforms the human spirit. Romans 8 tells us that the Holy Spirit communicates with our spirit when we pray. God wants to heal your depression. But he can’t do it until you allow his spirit to fill and comfort you completely. Let him take over. Forget yourself and let God have control. He wants to comfort you until heaven.
This Sunday we will share the second message of our new series When God Build’s a King. How a lowly shepherd became a great king. This message is titled “Servants Make Great Leaders” based on 1 Samuel 16:14-23. You will be blessed by this great story from the life of David.