World Mental Health Day

  • Oct. 10, 2017
  • #9247

Singing hymns and spiritual songs to the Lord helps overcome depression.

Bird Cage

Hi, I’m Joni with a poem that really helps when I feel down.

And believe me, this wheelchair, this paralysis, can really get me down at times. Now, I don’t feel trapped by depression like I used to because I’ve learned some wonderful habits that, whenever the blues do weigh down my heart, I immediately kick these habits into gear. A few are listed in a wonderful little booklet I’m offering today called “The Way Out of Depression,” and I’d love to send you your free copy; just let us know at joniandfriends.org/radio. Anyway, back to my point. When I get down, one habit is to tell myself the truth. I can do that through scripture, the words to hymns, or even through poetry. In fact, I’ve got a whole list of truth-telling poems that I’ve pretty much memorized. Because when you recite a poem or the words to scripture or the words to a hymn, whatever it is, when it speaks a truth that honors God, I tell you what, the devil just has to leave. He has to quit harassing you. Truth-telling poems shine light into your dark thoughts, reminding you that God is near, that He cares. He’s not going to forsake you, and He will pull you through. It is a fight, and often a very long fight, but sooner or later, your faith will grow strong. It can’t help but do that when you’re in a fight for your own mental health. And this is the lady who was in a deep dark depression for nearly a couple of years. So I know from whence I speak. So, just what is my favorite truth telling poem that helps me in depression?

Well, it was written by Madame Guyon, a French noblewoman who was thrown into a dungeon in France in the 18th century. She was sentenced on trumped-up religious charges by church officials. For ten years, she lingered in prison, and about those dark, depressing circumstances, this is what she wrote. Listen to this…

“A little bird am I,
caught from the field of air,
And in my cage I sit and sing
To the One who placed me there.
Well-pleased a prisoner to be
Because, my God, it pleases Thee.
Naught have I else to do,
I sit and sing the whole day long;
And He whom I most love to please,
He listens to my song.
He caught and bound my wandering wing,
But still He bends to hear me sing.
And it is so good to soar these bolts and bars above!
To Him whose purpose I adore,
Whose providence I love;
And in His perfect will to find,
The joy and the freedom of the mind.”

Now, you could think that’s just a nice, simple, sweet poem with no real teeth to it. But when you know the circumstances in which it was written, that is a different story. Madam Guyon rejoiced in her confinement because she knew God in His providence had placed her in those circumstances. And her response? To sing praises to God in that dark and dreary dungeon, and to do so for ten long years. It’s why when I was confined to bed for over a year, depression overwhelmed me. But when a Christian friend shared this poem, and told me the story behind it, well, I knew I had the answer. I would sing my way out of depression using every hymn and worship song I could get my hands on. I hated feeling down, and I desperately wanted out. And this poem showed me that although my cage—my wheelchair—would remain the same, my spirit could be set free. Where the spirit of the Lord is, friend, there’s freedom. Today is World Mental Health Day, so be sure to visit joniandfriends.org/radio where you can download this beautiful poem and ask for our booklet on depression. Believe me, it’ll all help.

© Joni and Friends

 

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