Archives For hope

'Depression' photo (c) 2008, Eddi van W. - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

I’m going to be honest: I don’t know how to thrive. From the outside, my upbringing was white, middle-class suburbia. From the outside, my current life is the same: white, middle-class suburbia. But on the inside, it was chaos.

It still is.

I have been in survival mode all of my life. The chaos around me–messy house, messy car–feels normal. It’s what I know.

Either that, or I don’t care. Life has been about finding that one bright, shining place. A quantum of solace, if you will. This will make me feel good. That will make me feel normal. It never works.

My sleep is worse than ever, but I still get up, go to work, do what I have to.

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What do we do when the much longed-for healing doesn’t come? When hope is dashed again and again?

When God, whom we know has both the power and ability, to do something, doesn’t?

What do we do with this disappointment? Why does he seem so silent, hidden, unfair, unloving, uncaring?

Are things really as they seem?

“Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge,” Job was asked? Who, indeed? God, apparently fed up with Job’s questioning, answered him in a very Socratic way:

With questions of his own.

It seems there were things Job, and by extension, us, simply couldn’t understand. Meaning that if God, and his purposes, could be understood, he wouldn’t be God.

From his perspective, things were well in hand; from Job’s, unremitting loss and suffering. And instead of cluing Job in, the book seems more of an object lesson for Satan:

Do your worst, I know Job’s heart. He loves me…

Blows me away everytime I think about it. Admittedly, we don’t have the (if one can term it that) the luxury of God appearing in a whirlwind; rather Jesus tells us “Blessed is he who has not seen, and yet has believed.” Put another way, we walk by faith, and not by sight.

We are put into the position of having to trust that Father does indeed, despite all appearances to the contrary, know best.

So what do we do when the healing doesn’t come? We join that great cloud of witnesses which surrounds us. It’s some rather august company:

Paul asked thrice for his thorn to be taken; it was not. Instead, he was told that “My grace is sufficient for you…” The entire roster of the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews eleven consists entirely of people who didn’t get what they were promised, only glimpsing it from a long ways off.

A certain petitioner asked that a cup be taken from him; it was not.

We know how that turned out.

So what do we do when the looked-for healing doesn’t come?

As trite as it is to say: we trust, and obey. Otherwise anger, bitterness, frustration, and hopelessness stand outside the door threatening to destroy us.

We walk by faith and not by sight, right? I know: easy to say. But how do we do this–walk by faith–when our bodies, and our minds, betray us? I wish I knew. The world, the flesh, the devil, illness make a fairly comprehensive case against God’s fundamental goodness. Why does he seem so absent when things fall apart?

Why does everything have to be a test of faith?

“Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief.” It’s hard, but I have nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to.

And I’m sorry, folks: I don’t have any answers. I’ve only got an Answer. I wish it were more satisfying. Like God, who doesn’t want to be analyzed, but rather just loved for who he is, I don’t want to be constantly tested, tried, found wanting.

Like him, I just want to be loved. Right where I’m at.

How about you?

The Holidays Can Be Hard

randomlychad  —  November 22, 2012 — 4 Comments

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I know today is Thanksgiving (here in the US, anyway). I know it’s supposed to be a happy day, a day of feasting, and family.

But for some, the holidays can be hard. Very hard. Some want to give up, but press on. Others, facing a season alone, opt out–not wanting to face life alone.

Statistics show that the incidence of suicide increase during this season.

Are you a divorcee, facing a season alone, a widower, or widower alone now for the first time since… you can remember? Are you perhaps hundreds, or thousands, of miles away from friends or family?

I want you to know that you are not alone.

Last year, I was very privileged to contribute to an anthology of true stories called Not Alone: Stories of Living With Depression (Link to Kindle edition; a paperback copy can be ordered from the link to the right, or on Amazon).

I have not, nor will I receive, any compensation for my participation in this project. But knowing that my story, along with those of many others, is out there is compensation enough.

Because it has helped people. And that is more than any remuneration could ever be.

I know the the holidays can be hard, but there is hope.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Desolation and Deserts

randomlychad  —  September 3, 2012 — 2 Comments

There’s something about the desert, entirely apart from the searing heat, that bakes its way into ones soul. Like clay, ones soul can harden, dry, in that open oven. The sere vistas, dry, cracked, hard-packed earth as far as the eye can see.

It does something to the heart.

Yet there’s a peacefulness to it, too–an austerity. A kind of somber splendor. And somehow it’s alive–gloriously alive! Against all hope, there is life! Life clings tenaciously to the ground. There is a verdancy one doesn’t expect, almost forgets to look for, amidst the haze of dust clouds.

The desert tests one, tests one’s resolve. Tests one’s ability to continue to believe, abide in faith, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Jesus came to this wilderness–the desert, this earth–to lead out of dryness.

If your soul is parched, look up today: there is evidence of rain.

Where do you see Jesus moving in your dry places?

Born to Die?

randomlychad  —  June 26, 2012 — 5 Comments

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With but a few words yesterday, I tried to convey the dichotomy of mortality. In the beginning, God made Adam (and Eve) to live forever. He wasn’t supposed to die–it wasn’t meant to be this way.

And we all feel the ache.

To have eternal spirits bound in jars of clay seems almost a cosmic joke. But it is deathly serious. Even before we are born, our cells begin their inexorable, divisive march towards their eventual ruination.

That smell is all around us–from the baby’s diaper to the dung heap: something in us instinctively recoils in revulsion. Death, and decay–they say–are merely parts of the natural order. We are to get over it and get on.

It’s just the way it is.

But is it? Why then do we shudder? Why do we shower daily? Why are we offended by our own smells?

Because somewhere deep inside, we know: we were not made to die. We are more than this, more than the mud from which our bodies were formed.

We are living souls–souls whose bodies are passing away. But souls who will live again one day.

Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live. He that lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Do you?