Pastor Alan Parsons said Sunday morning in the final sermon of The Chatterbox, “The best way to preach is by example.”
The words struck me because I’ve had a feeling recently that I was going to have to give some background on why The Chatterbox has meant so much to me.
On Sunday, Alan went on to talk about how difficult his week was and how he had listened to the Chatterbox and let it discourage him. And I would like to take a moment to commend him for speaking so honestly. It was something that most people don’t have the boldness to do. Alan also went on to attest to how everything changes when we hand our situations over to God and listen to Him instead of the Chatterbox.
Now I suppose it’s my turn to demonstrate the very same thing.
The weekend of the first Chatterbox sermon, I was depressed. I wasn’t just sad or bummed out. I don’t remember the last time I had felt as purely awful in my heart and soul as I felt that weekend. I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but I’m typically pretty loud and happy. That Sunday, I was quiet and I couldn’t even really bring myself to smile.
I felt entirely pointless. I thought about everything I do, and I couldn’t think of a single way that I wasn’t replaceable. The ways I volunteer at church, my job, what I do around the house, everything. I started feeling like all I did well was get on everyone’s nerves and take up space. I started questioning God, asking Him what I was even doing here because I could not see what function I was serving in the grand scheme of things.
The ironic thing is I’m usually the one trying to encourage other people and let them know how loved they are by God and by others, telling them that they have a huge purpose in this world. But no matter how much I thought about it, I couldn’t seem to believe it about myself, at least not in that moment. I wasn’t just listening to the Chatterbox. It was the only station I thought I could pick up.
I can guarantee you that there wasn’t a single person who needed to hear about how much God loves and accepts them more than I did that Sunday. So I’ve been drawn to this series because I needed to hear it and because I fully believe that everyone needs to hear it.
Isn’t it amazing how God orchestrates everything?
The reason this series helped me turn off the Chatterbox is because it forced me to hear what God was really saying about me. It showed me reasons to love God and praise Him. It shifted my focus from being on my misconceptions and disappointments to being on God’s love and greatness. And honestly, it’s hard to listen to the Chatterbox when all you see is how perfect God is.
I was reminded of God’s truths about me and promises to me, and I was reminded that they’re just as present and accurate even in the moments when I don’t believe them.
I’ve said it plenty of times before (I’m sure I’m not the only one), and I’ll say it again: God is faithful even when I’m not.
Isn’t that remarkable? The one who’s bringing everything to the relationship is completely loyal to the other. I’m the one that messes up. I’m the unworthy one. I’m the one who needs Him just to make it through the day. You would think that I’m the one who would cling to Him, regardless of my changing world or whatever circumstances I find myself in. But it’s the other way around. God’s the one who’s always there for me, whether I ask Him to be or not. He picks me up, helps me out, listens to me rant or cry or babble away. He’s my Savior, yet He’s the one that’s head over heels in love with me. I give up on God more often than I care to admit, but never – not for a second – has He given up on me.
Nor has He ever given up on you.
I’m lucky that my depression lasted only a few days. Some people go through it for years. Maybe you’re one of them. Maybe while you were reading about my experience you found yourself thinking, “Yes! I know exactly what you’re talking about. I feel that way every day.” And people always say to those who are struggling that things will get better. I say it myself. I’ve actually had one girl tell me that people say that all the time, they’ve been saying it for years, but she still feels empty. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times, and you’re probably tired of it. But let me tell you, it will get better. I know it will.
“But how do you know that?”
I know it will happen because God is faithful.
God knows you’re struggling. God knows that there are times when your faith isn’t just running low, it basically doesn’t exist. There are moments when you turn from Him and seek help or shelter elsewhere. But the thing about God is that even though He knows you’ll do it to Him, He won’t do it to you. He’s right there with you. He’s not leaving you, He’s not giving up on you, and He isn’t done with you.
Hebrews 10:23 (NRSV) says, “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.”
Don’t give up. God certainly won’t. And imagine how much better you’ll do if you work with God instead of working against Him or being apathetic about Him.
When you truly want to turn off the Chatterbox, and you can’t find a single other thing to praise God for, praise Him for just being there. Maybe you don’t see Him. Maybe you wish He would be more active. Regardless, don’t doubt for one minute that He’s with you, and don’t doubt for one minute that He loves you. And remember that even the smallest bit of praise can begin to shut off the Chatterbox.
By Carrie Prevette