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You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You cannot see him now, but you believe in him. So you are filled with a joy that cannot be explained, a joy full of glory. 1 Peter 1:8 (NCV)

S.A.D.-Seasonal Affective Disorder-by definition it’s a type of depression that comes on people generally at a certain time of the year, usually fall. For those of us in the northern climates it’s usually caused by long nights and short days in which there may be no sunshine at all.

There’s another kind of S.A.D. that attacks us as well. Call it Spiritual Affective Disorder. If you are a Christ-follower and you’ve been walking the journey for a while you are all too familiar with this type of S.A.D. Those times when you feel emotionally and spiritually spent. You try to pray but can’t. You force yourself to read the Bible but the letters and words are just a pattern on the page with no meaning and no ‘inspiration’.

Sometimes this type of S.A.D. can be so severe it causes you to lose faith. At least for awhile. Is this all really worth it? Maybe banging your head on a wall would be more helpful! Maybe going out and getting drunk or finding a new partner or making some drastic changes in lifestyle will help.

Then you stop short. “What am I thinking?” you ask yourself. Those things won’t make the problems go away. In fact they make it worse.

So what is the answer to avoiding or curing Spiritual Affective Disorder? The cure for the physical version of S.A.D. is prolonged periods of sunshine. The cure for Spiritual Affective Disorder is walking in the SONshine.

The Apostle Peter is writing to a bunch of new believers in Christ. They were living in dangerous political times. Their lives were threatened on a daily basis and many had even lost their lives due to their faith.

Peter says “You haven’t seen Christ, but your very belief in him should bring you great joy”. In a sense Peter is saying; don’t look at the struggles around you. Don’t focus on how bad things are. Focus on Jesus. Keep him in view and the troubles of life will be less threatening.

Who but Peter would know what it was like to see Jesus? He was writing to people who hadn’t had the opportunity to see Jesus on a daily basis. He was writing to a people who hadn’t had the benefit of seeing Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. He was writing to a people who had never felt the water under their feet as they walked across a lake to meet Jesus.

Peter knew something each of us should remember. Keep your focus on Jesus. Only he will give you a joy that no one can understand. Step into the SONshine and stop being S.A.D.!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I remember you saying you would walk with me through the storms and gloom of life. At times it’s hard to see the SONshine due to heavy clouds of concern and worry. Empower me with your spirit to see through the fog so that I can have the joy only you can give. Amen.

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September 2011
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