Can a Christian be depressed? Or afraid?
Yes, of course. One example in Pilgrim’s Progress is in the character of Mr. Fearing. Mr. Great-Heart explains it this way when asked why:
“There are reasons for it; one is the wise God will have it so, some must pipe and some must weep. Now, Mr. Fearing was one that played upon this bass.” (The bass is the lowest pitch or range)
He goes on, “The first string that the musician usually touches is the bass, when he intends to put it all in tune. God also plays upon this string first, when He sets the soul in tune for Himself. Only here was the imperfection of Mr. Fearing. He could play upon no other music but this, until towards his latter end.” Mr. Fearing could not overcome this until he was at the end of his life. Obviously, it hindered him.
The discussion goes on for a few pages. Then James, one of the young sons of Christiana, pipes up and says, “No fears, no Grace.” He was ahead of his time with that slogan!
Mr. Great-Heart responds, “Well said, James, thou hast hit the mark; for the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”
John Gill’s commentary explains the “fear of God” like this:
…by the “fear of God”, is not meant a fear of God’s wrath, of hell and damnation; nor a fearful distrust of his presence, power, providence, and grace; much less an hypocritical fear; but a reverential affection for God, and which is peculiar to the children of God, which springs from a sense of divine goodness, is attended with holiness of heart and life, is consistent with faith, even full assurance of it, and with spiritual joy in its highest degree…
Am I afraid? Sometimes. Depressed? Sometimes. Have I experienced God’s grace? Joyfully, yes.
I want to make bumper stickers now that read “no fears, no grace”. Maybe there is a Kickstarter campaign in my future?
photo credit annkkml