This morning I am preaching from Zechariah. After Zechariah God would send only one more prophet, and then 400 silent years would descend on Israel. A 400 year silence that God would break explosively with the declaration of the birth of Jesus Christ!
Zechariah pointed Israel to the Messiah more than almost any other prophet. Only Isaiah contains more prophecies of Christ. And so Zechariah wrote to encourage the people, to give them hope!
As I have studied and prepared and thought on hope and discouragement I came across this statement by Spurgeon on depression:
“This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry; the cloud is black before it breaks, and overshadows before it yields its deluge of mercy.
“Depression has now become to me as a prophet in rough clothing, a John the Baptist, heralding the nearer coming of my Lord’s richer benison. So have far better men found it.
“The scouring of the vessel has fitted it for the Master’s use. Immersion in suffering has preceded the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Fasting gives an appetite for the banquet. The Lord is revealed in the backside of the desert, while his servant keepeth the sheep and waits in solitary awe.
“The wilderness is the way to Canaan. The low valley leads to the towering mountain. Defeat prepares for victory. The raven is sent forth before the dove. The darkest hour of the night precedes the day-dawn. The mariners go down to the depths, but the next wave makes them mount to the heaven: their soul is melted because of trouble before he bringeth them to their desired haven.”