If Only I Had Perceived Things This Way Years Ago

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Depression and Faith | 2 comments

Reflections on Then…and Now

How has your thinking about life, relationships and ministry changed over the years?

If you’re like me, you wish that your current viewpoints on things would have crystallized when you were younger, when there was more time left for your thinking to inform and alter your behavior. Yet it’s never too late to do what is right!

Here’s a few ways my thinking has changed. In case you want to examine them, the Bible references on each topic served as a catalyst for revision of my thinking and actions.

Eradicating Versus Redeeming Pain

In the past, I occasionally pleaded with God to heal me totally of depression, so dark episodes would never return. He may choose to do that for some people, but it never happened to me. Once, I said to Him, “God, You can’t allow me to live my entire life with a propensity for depression!” Then His Spirit whispered, “Terry, I’m not God until I can!”

That’s when my prayer changed. Knowing He’s sovereign, as well as good, wise and loving, I began asking Him to redeem this kind of pain for others’ good and His glory.  Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11

A Cure for Self-pity

Years ago, in a moment of self-pity over a tough circumstance and what I perceived as unfair treatment, I complained to the Lord, saying, “God, I don’t think either You or this other person is being fair with me. Where’s the justice in this situation!?” Now, I hear God whispering to me, “Terry, be glad, be very glad, that I don’t treat you justly; rather, revel in the fact that I treat you graciously.”  Psalm 103:8-14; Romans 5:6-11; Ephesians 2:4-9

Why Study God’s Word?

When I was younger, I studied the Bible diligently as a teacher so I could communicate it more effectively. Now I’m far more concerned about studying it as a learner so I know the Author more intimately, and receive the strength to obey Him more consistently.

For a person called to share God’s Word, the motive for studying it is never an either/or proposition; rather, it’s both/and. There’s merely been a tendency in me to study it more as a Teacher’s Manual or textbook, rather than as a table at which I feed my soul. 2 Timothy 2:15; John 17:3; Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 Peter 2:2-3

The Irony of an Apology

In the past, I had a difficult time apologizing to another person. Doing so embarrassed me and made me feel lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut. I figured that whoever I apologized to would never respect me again. Now, I waste little time apologizing when I know I should. Ironically, now I view apologizing for a sin against another person as a means of modeling something positive about Christian living. When I apologize, I’m modeling how to handle sin in a relationship.  1 John 1:8-9; James 5:16

Releasing Resentment

When I was younger, I carried grudges more often and had a hard time forgiving anyone who hurt me or sinned against me. Now, when I sense resentment welling up inside me, I remember that through Christ’s death on the cross and the faith I put in Him, I’ve been forgiven of all my sins, lock, stock and barrel, and my sins against a holy God are far worse than anyone’s sin could be against me. Forgiving still isn’t easy, but it happens when I meditate on the forgiveness I’ve received. I have an experiential basis to treat another better than he or she deserves. I can give grace because I’ve received so much of it.  Ephesians 4:31-32; Hebrews 12:15

Forsaken by God?

In the past, when a depressive episode was horrific and my prayers of lament didn’t alleviate the emotional pain, I felt forsaken by God. Now, I remember Jesus’ cry from the cross when He prayed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I bear the despondency with more resilience by realizing that God forsook His Son temporarily so He would not have to forsake me eternally!  Mark 15:34; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 13:5-6

How to Glorify God

I once thought that I best glorified God when I was strong: when I resisted a temptation or served energetically with an optimistic spirit.

As I aged, I discovered that God potentially gets even more glory when I am weak, broken and needy. That’s when I exercise desperate dependence on Him and plead for Him to do what only He can do. Then He intervenes, enabling me to do what I could not have done under my own strength. Knowing this, I’m more prone to run to Him and plead for His intervention. My need gives Him an opportunity for Him to display His power for me or in and through me. That’s why weakness, spiritually speaking, is a strength so long as it prompts me to pray. Charles Spurgeon was correct: “God gets from us most glory when we get from Him most grace.”   Psalm 50:15, 79:9;  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Usefulness in Serving God

In years past, I often prayed, “Lord, please use me more.” Now, I’m more likely to pray, “Lord, make me more usable.”  Colossians 1:28-29

What’s Wrong with the World?

In past years, I chafed against all that’s wrong in this fallen world: terrorists; sex trafficking; political corruption; widespread abortion–you name it! I saw such devastating effects of sin–out there! Now, in my 70s, I’ve come to know myself better and see indwelling sin more clearly within me. Now when I hear someone ask, “What’s wrong with the world?” I nod in agreement with what G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) wrote. A newspaper reportedly contacted several famous authors, asking for their response to this question: “What is wrong with the world today?” His written reply?

“Dear Sir:  I am. Yours, G. K. Chesterton”

Now I’m convinced that the only thing worse than being a sinner is not being aware of it.  Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:10


I’m curious: how has time modified how you think about life, relationships or ministry?








Please note: comments are closed after two weeks. You are welcome to contact me directly after that time if you would like to share your thoughts.


  1. Thanks, beloved brother. Great life lessons I wish Id learned. Blessings.

  2. Lord willing, I will be 64 years old on May 23. For me today in my life and especially after a recent head on car collision, 2/25/24 I see time being very, very important. Reading my Bible now, more diligently to “feed my soul and learn effectively how to share with others is also important to me (Ephesians 5:16) I could have died in that crash but God’s protection was with me.
    Everyone including our instructorsfriends and loved ones must be ready at anytime to meet the Lord.
    As an encourager, teacher and soloist, I am glad I am saved, but what about the others? I do not know. However, I am now considering asking everyone God allows me to come in contact with, how are they utilizing their time? Does it include Jesus? Everyone needs to know Him and now more so, I want to make Him Known. (Romans 10:9-10)
    (Hope this answered the question)


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