Last week Monday I came down with one of the worst colds of my life. I thought briefly of calling it my worst cold, but one must be careful with superlatives.
My body experienced most of the symptoms of the season’s flu, and perhaps I had that affliction as well. My head felt like a pillow filled with sleet. I couldn’t breathe through my nose and encountered five nights of sleeplessness, followed by five days of deepening depression.
All the manifestations of depression came knocking at my door: self-pity, hopelessness, confusion, thoughts of death, negative thinking, worst-case-scenarios, a predicted life of on-going mental anguish, the whole routine. These old friends frightened me. I was at the edge of the pit.
Then my wife encouraged me, “Of course you’re depressed. Who wouldn’t be? But you’ll get better. This isn’t permanent.” I needed those words. I immediately turned my thinking away from my deplorable condition and to the mercy of God, asking Him, “What do you want me to learn from this terrible cold?” I expect you’re wondering what His answer was, but that is much too personal to share with anyone. I became filled with His love and with hope for the rest of my life. I had come back from the valley of the shadow of death.