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Friday, April 9, 2021

When God is Part of the Problem

The hardest thing about my recent bout of depression, the one that I began recovering from 12.16.2019, was how much God was part of the problem. 

I am a Christ-follower. Not a good one, as I've already established - a Pharisaical one. I make up God-rules to follow because I don't want to do some of the things He clearly tells me to do. Obedience to God is worship of God. I'm a terrible worshipper. 

During my depressive states, I talk to God a lot. Hourly. I don't watch TV. I read my Bible and listen to sermon podcasts from David Jeremiah and Paul Sheppard and recently Craig something from Life.Church. I talk to God honestly, like David, who I'm pretty sure was bipolar. I yell a lot, accuse a lot, demand a lot, cry a lot. I am that dripping rain wife Proverbs talks about. Never satisfied, ever-wanting, continuously nagging. Why is this happening? Why can't I overcome this? Why don't you heal me? How can I tell people about your incredible love when you won't show me any? 

As far as I can tell empirically, God ignores me. I don't come to an understanding of the greatness of God, like David seems to. Although, I have no idea how long it took him to write those psalms so maybe his answers came later. I don't glory in the greatness of my creator. 

I don't feel loved. I don't feel heard. I don't feel the peace that passes understanding. I feel ignored. Shunned, even. God has already said everything He has to say and He's done. A new promise, just for me? I have the whole Bible and its promises. Trust those, even if they don't exactly fit my specific circumstances. Besides, I'm not doing what He's already told me to do, so until I cowboy up, He's got nothing to say. 

My source of help will not help. Isn't He supposed to help? Isn't the entire point of the Bible that I can't do this by myself? Sure feels like that's what I'm doing. 

Paul Asay also has trouble experiencing God the way some people do. It's why I listened to him and bought his book, Beauty in the Browns. He has been able to find a way to trust what he knows when the feelings aren't there. C.S. Lewis says the same thing in a quote about trusting what his reason knows when his mood doesn't fit his mind. 

That's all great, except my experiences as I age have become time after time when God let me down. Didn't show up in a visible way. Didn't answer a prayer in a visible way that undeniably points to His hand in the business. Didn't offer comfort in a tangible way. I want to believe He was doing something behind the scenes, and His ways are not my ways, and His timing is not my timing, but is it really so much to ask for one clear sign that He is listening? Gideon got that twice. 

Sure, maybe I'm doing it wrong. It has to be my fault, right? I'm the human. God can't possibly be to blame. I should just trust more, think good thoughts, wait until I die 50 years from now to find out it was all worth it. Those platitudes mean exactly nothing when I'm drowning in sand. 

How is it possible to have a real relationship with an invisible, intangible, unexperience-able being? At some point, a friend shows up and offers a hug, makes some tea, hands over a tissue. If people are the hands and feet of God, and He doesn't do anything Himself, how do I know He's even there? 

I am not driven by feelings, but when all my feelings are hopeless grief, bitter despair, and absolute aloneness, it would be nice if the God I serve would provide a little balance instead of a lot of silence. 

Keep the faith. 

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