But I remember once, many years ago, when I was unable to keep a tear from leaking out in front of my little boy. We were preparing to move, and after several days of packing and cleaning, and saying good-bye to yet another good friend, it just got away from me. He asked what was wrong.
I never tried to hide things from my children. I told them what I thought they could understand at the time they asked. He would not have understood about the other problems of a move, but he had little friends himself that I knew he would miss, so I said, “It’s just sad to leave your friends.”
He put his arms around my neck and patted my back. “It’s all right, mama. You will always have Jesus.”
That nearly undid me for good, but I managed to smile and say, “You are right. And so will you.” Then we went on with the task of packing, and managed a laugh or two before long.
As I think back on that now, I believe he had the answer I should have given this friend. Somehow a four year old understood that no matter what happens, we are never alone. What he did not say, but which struck me right between the eyes when I thought about it, was that when we allow ourselves to be depressed over this life, we are being singularly ungrateful to Christ for what He did for us. If this life were all there was, then we ought to be depressed. "If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable" 1 Cor 15:19. But He gave up a lot so we could have hope for the next life. I will not slap Him in the face by acting like anything in this life is important enough to take away the joy I have in a relationship with Him.
That does not mean that some days are not difficult, especially when the pain is worse or the vision is obviously less. But I do not wallow like a pig in the muddy misery. I choose not to, in part because a four year old reminded me not to.
From now on, when someone asks, I think I will just use my little boy’s answer—which I hope he has not forgotten either. How can I be depressed when I have a Savior who loves me?
For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifies and they that are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Heb 2:10,11.