Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 4, 1967

"A Little Despondent"

Earl Kimbrough

Despondency is incompatible with the Christian's life of trust. Yet, members of Christ's spiritual body do sometimes suffer discouragement, dejection, and depression. With most this is only a fleeting thing, a weakness of the flesh that overtakes us for the moment, only to be dispelled in short order by an all-conquering faith. However, some are more seriously afflicted, being deeply depressed almost to the point of feeling that further effort on their part to live right is useless. We all have seen brethren in various stages of despondency, some to the point of making complete shipwreck of their faith, and others well on the way to such spiritual self-destruction.

In 1890, a brother who was then living at Russellville, Alabama, wrote a letter to F. D. Srygley expressing a state of depression that apparently was in the later stages. Among other things he said:

Preaching and singing don't have the effect on me it used to have. I do wish I could become enthused and have zeal and enjoy religion, like I did when you used to preach for us at old Mt. Mills and Rock Creek. It seems that all my enjoyment in all things is gone forever. I would be glad (if) judgment would come tomorrow, provided we were all prepared to meet it, and I find others in the same condition.

Brother Srygley printed the letter in the Gospel Advocate and wrote a few words in an effort to help the despondent brother overcome his depression. There are both comfort and wisdom in his words for all of us today who, whether with little or with much, may be given at times to discouragement. Brother Srygley wrote:

A good way, and the only way, so far as I know, to "become enthused," is to read the Scriptures continually, pray regularly and often, and busy yourself every hour in doing what God, in the Scriptures, requires you to do. Do not think too much about your sins and mistakes if you have committed any. If you have done, or are doing, anything that you understand to be wrong, quit it and forget it. Don't blubber around forever over an error or a sin like a booby. You have no time to be "swallowed up with over much sorrow." Get up and rustle for kingdom come. Don't you worry about the judgment. It will come soon enough. I used to feel that way about the dinner horn when I worked on the farm. The truth is, I was lazy, and forever wishing for the dinner horn to blow. I don't like to see Christians standing around wishing for Gabriel's horn. It is not a good sign. Don't think too much of your misfortune. Do the best you can to make the condition of yourself and family pleasant, and then study about your blessings and forget your misfortunes. Only try to do your whole duty, keep a warm heart and a cheerful face, and you will come out all right. The Lord bless and keep you. (Gospel Advocate, May 5, 1890, p.350.)