Depression Washed Away - Songs Came to Stay
Out of the blue, Russell had an experience he still talks about today, 36 years later. That night, sitting on the edge of his bed, a wave of bad feelings started to torment him. The horrific hopeless feeling of fear and depression overcame him and he grew desperate to get rid of it.
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His first thought was to pray. Then he thought, "That would be kind'a dumb. After all who would listen?"
Besides, he was too embarrassed to pray. But such a battle was going on in his mind that out of pure desperation Russell decided to give prayer a shot.
"God, I don't know if You're real or not real," Russ prayed, "But if You are real, please take this rotten feeling out of me!"
Russell Scherer, was born in Maple Creek Saskatchewan, Canada in 1945. He moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta in 1947 and lived in the Medicine Hat area most of his life, except when he was running away from his drinking problem.
From the age of 14 to 25 his life was a blur caused by drinking alcohol. Although there were some fun times, he dropped out of school, and got into trouble with the law. The general pain and remorse that go hand in hand with drinking and alcoholism were the norm in those days. He wondered if there was anything else in life.
Alcoholism stemmed from his father's side of the family, only God knows for how many generations.
"I'd always thought," Russell says now, "That to get to Heaven, I'd have to get very religious and go to church for a long time. About the time my friends would say, 'there goes religious Russ,' that's when at last, I would feel good enough to go to Heaven."
In his early 20's Russell was generally a happy-go-lucky, fun-loving person, but couldn't understand why he sometimes had these weird depressing feelings deep down inside. They felt like waves of torment and agony that came and went periodically.
He quit his job as a baker at a Woolworth Store in Medicine Hat, to head elsewhere, hoping things might change. Just before Russell left town, Tess, an older lady he had worked with at Woolworth's gave him a Bible. As they exchanged good-byes he mentioned he might be a singer someday. She replied politely, "Yes, maybe in a church."
Russell knew that would never happen because he had hated Sunday School when he was a child. Now as an older person he dreaded the thought of going to church, let alone talking or singing there.
He had forced himself to go to church three times anyway, thinking it might do something for his depression or those rotten feelings that were tearing him apart inside. However church didn't help.
A girl who sat beside him told him he didn't look like the type to be in church. After the service, she told him that the preacher had said to her, "I don't care for the suit he (Russell) is wearing."
He wound up in Red Deer, Alberta, landing a job in another bakery, and lived in a small basement suite by himself. There was a Bible beside his bed which Russell tried to read, but he couldn't make any meaning out of it.
Confused, still drinking heavily, mixed up in his heart, and tormented by inner demons, he trudged to work daily and did the best he could.
Then one night, out of the blue, Russell had that unusual experience, the watershed of his life. Sitting on the edge of his bed in that dark little suite, a bigger than usual wave of ugly emotions tormented him. A horrific hopeless feeling washed over him and like a drowning man, he grew desperate to get rid of the depression, and that overwhelming fear.
His first thought was to pray.
Next he thought, "That's kind'a dumb. After all who would listen?" Besides, he was too embarrassed to pray. But such a battle was going on in his mind that out of pure desperation Russell decided to give prayer a shot.
He cried out, "God, I don't know if You're real or not real, but if You are real, please take this rotten feeling out of me!"
Instantly something like an electrical current touched him, starting at the top of his head and going down in his spirit, and cleaned part of this bad stuff out.
It felt so good he said, "Again!" Once more the power went through him.
"Again!" Russell said, and all the rest of the rotten feelings, including that great ugly fear left.
He woke up the next morning feeling well-slept and not sure what happened.
Russell went to work on a beautiful sunny morning and the first thing he noticed was how beautifully the birds were singing. He got to work and frying donuts, a job he hated, suddenly was something he loved. He could not understand why.
At coffee time he went downstairs for his break and to have a smoke. He put the cigarette near his mouth, but couldn't light it. To his surprise, Russell realized he didn't want to smoke anymore. He remembers saying, "I feel so happy I don't even want to smoke." He had no craving, nothing.
When he got home, he found to his further surprise that now he could understand the Bible. One of the first verses he found was the one in Corinthians that says, "Behold, you are a new creature in Christ, the former things have passed away all things are new." Russell's reaction was, "Wow! That's what happened to me today! This book must be true!"
For the next few days he did the work of three or four people combined! He just wanted to help everyone.
His friends noticed that his foul language disappeared as well, however, he still struggled with the temptation to drink alcohol for two more years. In fact, now co-workers were calling him 'Religious Russ' as in his early misconception, but derisively. However, he was so happy, it didn't offend him. He could not keep himself from telling them his great discoveries in Christ. Now he knew that rather than being religious getting him to Heaven, it was just a matter of calling on the name of the Lord, and being saved - even delivered!
Shortly after this life-transforming experience he married Marg. She shared his excitement.
About two years into the marriage those same tormenting spirits of fear and depression attacked him again. Russell quickly told his wife what was happening.
Marg asked, "What did you do the first time this happened?"
Russell replied, "Why, I just simply prayed."
Marg said, "Well you better pray again."
So Russell started to kneel in the middle of the floor, and before one knee could touch the floor the demons instantly fled!
Later Russ read in the Bible, "If you submit to God the demons will flee." He also read, "If your house is empty even more will try to come back in."
He realized later that he had experienced parts of the Bible before he even read them. He also learned the importance of renewing his mind with God's Word. Russell has never had that problem since.
For about a year, Russ joined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and found drinking to be bad news. But how should he get rid of it?
He recalled Paul's thorn in the Bible, and decided that he too, would accept God's grace to be sufficient for him one day at a time. This way he has held that alcohol demon at bay for 36 years now.
Career wise, Russell went from baking to sales for most of his life. Presently he is retired and working part-time as a security guard in Medicine Hat, Alberta. At 61 this gives him lots of time to write and record songs. He sings at the Zellers Restaurant, at the Salvation Army shelter for the homeless, and at various seniors homes. Sensing God's guidance Russell has written about 50 songs about addictions, family, and his own personal experiences.
He has four albums available for the public to enjoy, Random Acts of Kindness, He Restores, The Best is Yet to Come, and Ground-breaking Gospel. Some have a few comical songs, but also some serious songs about addictions. Russell hopes these songs will make a difference in someone's life somewhere.
Russell and Marg had two sons. The eldest son had a bi-polar condition and many addictions. About three years ago, he lost this son, Ed, to suicide. Russell feels that the Lord has given him dreams and assurances that the son is just fine. He wrote a song about this too, "Ed with the King."
Currently Russell Scherer lives at Medicine Hat, Alberta, is a member of the Business Men's Fellowship chapter in that city, and attends the Bridge Church. He can be reached at (403)529-5267 for his CDs firstname.lastname@example.org or cell-403-866-5570