I had coffee with a good friend the other day.
I must confess, we were swapping stories of woe. She suffers from a depression similar to mine, but hers was brought on by a traumatic event in her past, and we were going back and forth, comparing the latest hard days and stresses we were dealing with.
Ever notice how your mood can lift just by understanding that someone else knows what it is you’re going through, or what it is you carry with you?
And you know, before long, our stories of woe turned into a bit of hilarity, and laughter, and wiping eyes from funny tears. And we heaved a sigh at the same time, and nodded to each other.
You can be going through the most awful situations, but just knowing someone else is fighting just as hard to grasp some joy and peace in the midst of the current storms can dwarf the fear and stress surrounding those same situations. And you nod because you acknowledge that you are both warriors and survivors and that you’re blessed, even in this small thing.
We stared at our coffee and tea. And then she said something that has clung to me all the rest of the week.
“Christine”, she said, “You know how you’re always saying that sometimes God can speak the simplest things into our souls at just the right time, and it’s like a surge of power from a source we hadn’t anticipated? Like when the depression is just too much, and I can’t even function or pray or rise above it at all, but suddenly, it’s like the Father leans in knowing full well I can’t find the energy to reach for Him, so He does it for me? And says something I desperately need?
I said, yes, I completely know that feeling.
“Well”, she looked at me knowingly, “That was me yesterday. It was so bad. The whole day. Felt myself drowning. And just when I was hunched over at the counter in the kitchen, this huge mess, me I mean, wondering if I’d be able to even finish the day, deal with it all, the weight of getting supper ready too large to consider, unable to cry even, and randomly saying to no one in particular ‘what do I do?’…. suddenly it was like He was right there in the kitchen, and I heard Him answer, “Just stand up.”
She got tears in her eyes. I got tears in my eyes.
“Just stand up. That’s all He wanted me to do. It was like He looked down and said, I would never let this beat you, so stop leaning against the counter all hunched over and afraid. Daughter, stand up!”
“So I did!”
And when she did, it was like there was a new power source holding her up, and even though things still felt a little hard for the rest of the night, they were dealable, her words. Like suddenly all the heaviness shrunk down to nothing. I got goosebumps and wanted to have church right there in the coffee shop but reined it in before I scared someone.
And we left shortly after, and the zing of those three words she shared stuck with me like a static charge.
“Just stand up!”
And the more I think them, the more I hear Christ issue these words over his daughters and sons. He’s said these words before.
“Stand up, and walk….” John 5:8
“Rise! And walk….” Matt. 9:5
“Stand! Your faith has made you well…” Luke 17:19
“Stand up straight, you are freed, woman.” Luke 13:10-17
Just stand up.
He sees you bent over, crippled, heavy circumstances weighing you down.
He sees how hard it was to get out of bed. Or to go to work. Or to deal with the kids. The bills. The doctor visits. The pills you have to take. The tasks you’re panicked about.
He sees how your brain is wired. How the chemicals are misfiring again. How the moods are shifting. How hopeless, restless, anxious, and grieved you are.
And He knows that sometimes, we just need to be allowed to stand up. To stand up under it all. To get our dignity back. Our peace back. Our strength replenished. Our hope recharged.
So He leans in and props us up in His grace. He leans in and the touch of the Master’s hand brings a new charge, and we can stand. Because of Him.
That fuel to stand?
Purest love for you. Purest peace abiding. Purest strength supplying.
So keep dwelling there. Where His Presence keeps speaking those things to you. So He can shepherd you through it. So the Life Preserver can lead you out of the stormy sea and into the shallows and say with authority, “My child, stand up!”
I don’t think my friend will be able to forget those words any time soon.
I pray none of us do.
Because they’re declared over each and every one of His children.
“I AM here. Just stand up.”