Monday, February 1, 2010

I Trust When Dark My Road

O My Soul:

Well, well! On your first read you arrogantly dismissed the Rev. Todd Pepperkorn's book entitled

I Trust When Dark My Road: A Lutheran View of Depression

I thought, "That doesn't sound so bad." But I am clinically depressed and haven't read a complete book in over year, let alone analyze the content of one. Nor do I yet fully grasp what has been happening to me.

So I began digesting this hundred page gem - sentence by sentence and half chapter by half chapter - to completion.

My wife exclaimed after she read Chapter Two: The Place of the Family, "So that is what is happening to us!" Dad's growing anger and both emotional and physical withdrawal from her and our three children.

Through the fog of my depression, a new view of the last twenty-five years began to emerge. Teenage depression in the 1980's triggered by divorcing parents. The severe recurrence of that depression while cutting my teeth as a pastor on the foreign mission field in the 2000's. (But, hey, the 1990's weren't so bad:) Anyway, the Reverend Pepperkorn's description of his descent into mental illness is helping me become aware of my own descent into that "ghastly landscape called clinical depression" as described in the introduction by Dr. Beverly Yahnke.

Chapter One addresses the Build Up to the Fall. Chapter Three reviews The Early Signs That Things Were Wrong. The fear of anti-depressant medication is discussed in Chapter Four: The Pill That Marked Me. The rest of the book describes one husband/dad/pastor's journey to a healing that most depressed people never experience due to nothing but a crushing fear that has the capacity to suck the life-breath out of you. In fact, suicide is the topic in Chapter Nine: Thinking the Unthinkable.

The take home message is that Jesus Christ, the Suffering Servant, does not forsake His people. He is near you. His death is for you. He provides doctors, psychologists, pastors, family and friends to deliver His care and cure to you.

Are you the spouse or friend of a mentally ill soul? Read Appendix 1: What to do if a loved one suffers depression.

Are you a pastor without a pastor? Read the Addendum by the Rev. Dr. Harold Senkbeil to help you find a pastor to speak God's grace into your situation.

I encourage you to read this book.

Thank you to the Reverend Todd Pepperkorn for writing this book.

Thank you to the Reverend Matthew Harrison for bringing this book to publication through LCMS World Relief and Human Care of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.


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