After my post from a few days ago, I’ve been in a pretty crappy state of mind if I’m going to be completely honest. Back and forth between anger and sadness, confusion and understanding, guilt and sorrow. I always thought I was a strong person. Peoples opinions of me don’t really matter much to me, I can take criticism, I’ve always been able to find the best way through a situation, I can handle things on my own…etc. But for some reason I am finding it so difficult to push past the feeling of uselessness that I feel every time I close my eyes and think about the fact that I may never be able to do the things that I thought maybe one day I might be able to do again.
I’ve been spending a lot of time listening to music, mostly music that is supposed to be helping me cope but which seems to just be reminding me of the mistakes that I’ve made and the faults that I have. If anyone has ever dealt with depression…you might know what I’m talking about. As much as I try to see the good in things, I end up coming back around to see the bad side. I used to be such a positive person and I really want to get there again.
I have also been doing a lot of soul searching with a Bible sitting in front of me. It’s easy and hard at the same time. Easy enough to open the bible and search for scripture that pertains to suffering, hard to look past the suffering itself and see what’s on the other side (mostly because at the moment it’s hard to even see the possibility of the other side).
But, despite all of that, I still manage to find glimpses of hope. And although I may be struggling, and I might not feel like I’m deserving, I KNOW that God does everything for a purpose, and that purpose is good. My mom sent me a song last night to listen to. I didn’t notice it until this morning right after I finished my morning time with God, during which I was seeking answers for why I have to go through this (on a side note…I feel really selfish about all this, me, my issues, my pain, my suffering…I know there are so many others out there going through worse situations!). But when I finally did listen to it this morning I realized just how much it fits what I’m going through right now. Take a few minutes to listen to this song, then come back…I’m not done yet.
- Broken beyond repair | Healing beyond belief
- Look in the mirror and find someone you never thought you’d be | Lift your eyes to Jesus
- Nothing but damaged goods | Something good in the making
- My worst mistake | Covered by the price He paid
- The scars from when you fell | The stories they will tell
- Worthless | Priceless
- Pain | Purpose
- Unworthy and Undeserving | Seen through eyes of mercy
I’d love to say that listening to this song will make all of your troubles go away and you will instantly realize that there is a purpose and be happy with your situation. I’d love to be able to say it, but I can’t say it for myself so I doubt it will work that way for you either. However, it gives me (and you!) a guide to cut out the enemy. The enemy knows that our struggles and suffering are for a better cause, a cause that is always opposite of what he wants. So the enemy makes the effort to use those struggles to pull us down before we can firmly get our faith planted in Jesus.
I feel like I’m caught in the middle of that process. As I’ve already said, I KNOW that there is a good purpose at the end of this, but I have trouble being content to not know WHEN that is going to happen. Especially added to what I found out earlier this week about the permanence of my issue, it’s a battle I have to fight, to fight to force my brain to agree with what my heart knows.
I listed many points from the song above, the bad thoughts on the left and Jesus’ responses to them on the right. There were more in the song, but these are the ones that pertain directly to a situation in my life, or a feeling that I can associate with. It’s so easy to relate to the ones on the left but sometimes (right now) so hard to accept the ones on the right. It’s hard to explain, but it’s not due to lack of belief that they are true…but more because as much as I KNOW that the right side is 100% accurate…I struggle with feeling deserving of that column when I know how much is wrong with me on the left. I know I don’t have to earn God’s love, but my human nature (as a result of sin) makes me feel like I still don’t deserve it at times.
Don’t get me wrong, my relationship with God I feel is growing stronger than it has been in a while. I’m studying His word and spending time in prayer on a daily basis. I have dropped to my knees and cried out for Him. I pray for strength and understanding, and at times I am at peace…but then for some reason the depression just keeps coming back. It’s like a never ending cycle that needs to be broken, but I don’t have the strength to break it. Luckily I know that there is someone in my life that can carry me through and take the heavy burden as soon as I’m willing to let it go…of that I have no doubt.
But how do I get there? How does anyone get there? We just have to push on. Plant our feet on solid ground and take one step at a time. We were never promised an easy life…what we were promised was an eternity with our Creator as long as we are willing to accept His grace. I guess it starts with knowing your limitations and asking Jesus to step in and cover them for you. In response to that, I’ve decided I need to start doing something more to get past whatever this is that I’m dealing with now. Can God heal me of my afflictions? He sure can! Will he? I don’t know…why should he? I want this to go away because it’s painful for me…not because I want Him to get the glory. That’s where the fault is…learning to put Him first. I’m slowly getting much better at that on the outward side of things…but it’s still something I’m struggling with on the inside.
I mentioned I’ve been doing more scripture reading and searching for stories of others going through the same things that I’m dealing with internally. One thing I found that I’m hoping will help is a book. I didn’t know about the book, I wasn’t searching for a book…I just happened across this quote in an article I was reading and it struck so close to home that I realized I had to read it. Maybe it was a God thing, maybe it wasn’t…but the book arrived in the mail today (thanks Mom!) so we will see how it is and how it helps. I’ll follow up on that in a later post down the road.
Jesus took away the only kind of suffering that can really destroy you: that is being cast away from God. – Tim Keller, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering
So far, I’ve stuttered and stammered so much in this post…I don’t even know if I’m on the topic that I originally intended to talk about. I just let the fingers do the typing and hopefully God is working through them so I say what He wants me to say. The quote above is the one that I mentioned (with a link to the book if anyone reading this is going through something similar and thinks it might help them as well). Talk about a slap in the face and a stomp on the feet. There’s only one type of suffering that I need to fear and it’s one that I don’t ever actually have to worry about since through Jesus’ sacrifice I’m completely safe from being cast aside from the presence of God.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV)
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance. (Romans 5:3 ESV)
Rejoice in our sufferings. I hope someone reading this post is feeling the exact same way I am right now. Sarcastically saying in my mind, “heh, easier said than done there buddy…how the heck am I supposed to rejoice over what I’m going through”. Well, I’m sitting here talking myself into how…so here’s the stream of thought that I’m going through right now: I can see Him working in my life right now. I feel Him closer right now than I have felt in a long time. While I still have this depression, I see holes of light poking through from time to time so I know there is a way out, it’s just forcing myself to push on to get there that I need to focus on. While there are certainly sufferings I am dealing with right now, chronic pain, depression, feelings of uselessness, general unhappiness, boredom and a lack of focus…there are so many more good things that I need to focus on. I am finally getting my finances straightened out. I have a loving and supporting wife that would do anything for me and will always be here by my side to help pull me through. I have two beautiful daughters that while they can be trying at times…they are children of Christ right along with me and I don’t have to worry about their fate. I have more options for medication and pain management that haven’t been talked about with the doctors yet…so I should probably stop fearing what I don’t know and wait to find out what options there might be. I’m alive (sad to say this hasn’t always been on the good list of things). My relationship with God is growing stronger by the day. I’ve given up some idols that were consuming me and I’m 1000 times better for it. I’ve set goals to work on and am doing very well with them…though I still need more effort in that department…I am at least finally attempting to live instead of doing nothing but waiting.
I don’t know what’s going to come out of this. Maybe my back is going to get so bad in the future that I can barely move. Maybe God is going to completely heal me. I don’t know, no one does. But I have to learn to be OK with that. I’m not rejoicing in my sufferings yet…but I know that someday soon I am going to be there….I just have to push on and keep my eyes focused on God’s will and not my own.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for the sufferings in my life. As much as they are painful to me, I know that there is good coming out of them. Lord I pray for anyone reading this blog that may be in the same or similar situation, and also for those that I know are worse off. I may not understand your reasoning for the things that happen, but I do know that there is no one else I would rather put my faith in. Lord help me with the faith to see that I don’t owe a debt anymore, there is nothing that I have to do to earn the love of Christ. If there is anyone reading this post that doesn’t know you Lord, I pray that you would pull them towards you. Let me be a vessel for you, show me the open door. Lord I thank you for your grace and ask for your forgiveness for the doubt and worry that I have been experiencing and just ask for you to empower me to push through it with your guidance. Lead me closer to you, and help me to lead those far from you to where you need them to be. Amen.