Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Struggle With The Black Dog

I'm writing from a top bunk in The Eagles Nest at an incredible and beloved place... Falls Creek... the largest Youth encampment in the world... a place where the exchange of death for life is a regular occurrence. It is also a place of renewal.

I am awake because I am pondering the question our wise Youth Minister, Mike Duncan, laid on us before calling it a day. After showing a dramatic video inactment of a timeless illustration, he asked, "What is your cage?" Great question.

I don't like to think of myself as being caged, but the reality is that I have been for now over three years. It's not that I've wanted to be caged. I didn't just say one day, "I think today would be a good day to be caged." Honestly, I hadn't thought about my condition in terms of being caged... until tonight.

My cage (the thing that has immobilized me, tormented me, bled out my joy, and provoked me to doubt everything but salvation) has been what Churchill referred to as "The Black Dog" of depression. There... I said it! Big D has been doing a number on me. If you're reading this, and now think less of a pastor whose confession is suddenly transparent, I pity you. I didn't go looking for the Black Dog, it tracked me down and, like a wolf circling its prey, pounced on me at the most opportune time.

It has been dark where I have been, but I am glad to say that I'm emerging from the darkness. I probably still have a ways to go, but I am rattling the cage! Christ in me, the hope if Glory, is my strength.

I do not know what the future holds for me or for the good people that call me pastor, but I do know Who holds our future. A because of Him, I can now see the Black Dog beginning to tuck his tail and hear his growl being replaced by a whimper.