When You Can Do Nothing Else, Cling

Charis, my granddaughter (almost 3) clung to Stephen, her dad, with all her might.

She was terrified of the ocean waves that lapped around my son’s feet.  Later in the week she ran, splashed and laughed in those half inch waves.  But on that day, the first morning of our vacation at the beach last week, she was clinging to her daddy for dear life.

The same week I read the following quote by Charles Spurgeon:

God gives to His people the propensity to cling. Though this is a very simple sort of faith, it is a very complete and effectual form of it. In fact, it is the heart of all faith, and that to which we are often driven when we are in deep trouble or when our mind is somewhat bemuddled by sickness or depression in spirit. We can cling when we can do nothing else, and that is the very soul of faith.  Always cling to what you know.

Charis clung to her daddy for dear life.  But more importantly, underneath her were the strong, sure arms of her father.  It wasn’t so much Charis who clung to her daddy, but her daddy who held his little girl in his loving arms.  That’s how it is when we cling to our heavenly Father.  We cling to him with all the faith we can muster, but underneath are the everlasting arms.

Are you in trouble?  Depressed?  Sick?  Cling to your loving Father.  He’ll never let you go.

photo by bubba altrogge (hey, that’s what Charis named me)

  • Elaine

    Thankful for a Heavenly Father who never lets us go; thanks for the encouragment.

    Terrific picture! Love it that she calls you,"Bubba"- a great term of endearment in the South.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Elaine! Someone told me Bubba is Ukranian for Grandmother…

      • Elaine

        I didn't know that but I know it is Southern for brother. :-)

        • MarkAltrogge

          So I'm Brother Grandma

  • http://abigail613.wordpress.com Abigail Snyder

    Charles Spurgeon:

    God gives to His people the propensity to cling. Though this is a very simple sort of faith, it is a very complete and effectual form of it. In fact, it is the heart of all faith, and that to which we are often driven when we are in deep trouble or when our mind is somewhat bemuddled by sickness or depression in spirit. We can cling when we can do nothing else, and that is the very soul of faith. Always cling to what you know.

    HT: The Blazing Center

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  • Bob

    Great picture "Bubba"… I just wish it had revealed more of Stephen's "strong, sure arms" (which I have always admired… esp after he disclosed to me yesterday that the secret to his jacked-up guns are those hand-grip resistance squeeze exercisers).

    • Bob

      I'm sure genetics play a huge part too though!

      • MarkAltrogge

        Bob, genetics plays the predominant part

  • Stephanie

    Thank you for this timely post. I am in exactly that spot right now, being pulled under by depression and anxiety. I am trying to cling to God, but many times don't even feel up to that. How would you explain clinging to God in practical terms? Thank you

    • MarkAltrogge

      Hi Stephanie,

      We cling by continuing to fight to trust Jesus despite what we see, to continue to read his word and believe it is the truth even if it seems to contradict our circumstances. We cling by praying and asking Jesus to help us, give us joy, deliver us from depression and anxiety. We cling by continuing to fellowship, even though we don't feel like it. We cling by listening to the Word preached and by participating in corporate worship. We cling by continuing to give thanks for all things and by continuing to obey Jesus though we are tempted to give up.

      All this being said, I've never suffered from extreme depression, though in my early Christian years I battled pretty severe anxiety for a period of about 2 years. I know some people who have battled clinical depression and they've told me that it is absolutely horrific. Certainly medicine is an option while you continue to trust Jesus and pursue him as best as you are able.

      Also I think of the man who said to Jesus, "I believe, help my unbelief" and Jesus was willing to work with that and healed his child. If nothing else, cast your cares on him because he cares for you. Even if you feel no relief. Keep coming to him. He will help you.

      If you are able to read, I suggest John Piper's book When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy http://www.amazon.com/When-Dont-Desire-God-Fight/

      I prayed for you as I wrote this reply. I hope Jesus delivers you from depression and anxiety quickly. He is greater. And you have a loving heavenly Father. Pray to him, "Father, I'm your daughter. I know you love me and have compassion on me. Please deliver me, help me, and give me joy." And keep thanking him for the good he's working in your life.

      I would assume you have shared your struggles with others – it is so wonderful to have Christian brothers and sisters praying for us. I hope these thoughts will encourage you in your battle to cling to Jesus.

      • Stephanie

        Thank you so much for your kind reply. I appreciate you recognizing the harsh reality of these issues. Your words truly gave me some direction as I walk through this. Thank you for your prayer and for taking the time to reply. It means a great deal to me~

        • mark altrogge

          You are so welcome Stephanie

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  • Daniel Stewart

    "Also I think of the man who said to Jesus, "I believe, help my unbelief" and Jesus was willing to work with that and healed his child. "

    Mr. Altrogge,
    I have often heard this story used as an encouragement when someone is struggling with weak faith but have also noticed that the rebuke Jesus gave the man is "conveniently" left out. I would love to be encouraged by this passage but I dare not discard the last part.. Therefore I have difficulty praying "help my unbelief" because of the rebuke. Your thoughts would be most welcome sir.

    Respectfully,
    Daniel Stewart

    Daniel Stewart