I think that, for years, I figured God had something against me because I was constantly living in a fight. This fight turned me into a warrior. I fought everything and everybody. I fought with my fists, with my words and with everything I had inside me. After a while the fight got too hard and I lost too often. I should have been humbled and turned to God. Instead, I waged war on him.
He has always been there for me. But I am so bull-headed and stubborn that when I lost the fight against my enemies that I turned my forces against an even greater foe, God. I resisted his plans for me and pushed back against his hand in my life and when this led to destruction, I promptly blamed God for the damage.
All of this defeat in my life really energized my depression. Losing control of my anger was a helping of steak and potatoes to my depression. Giving in to my fear was a tasty dessert for the bringer of sorrow to my life. Butting heads with God (an immovable object) brought pain that was like steroids to the sadness that was patiently consuming me.
Whenever I turned to God, my problems always pointed out to me that God wasn’t doing anything to help me. They never seemed to point out that I was expecting an immediate solution to problems that had been decades in the making. So after spending a grand total of thirty seconds in prayer and no time in obedience to God’s Word, I would decide that living in my problems was better and more effective.
One of the toughest things about mental illness is that it helps to skew reality to fit my fantasy. I want to conquer the world in my own strength. My life experience has taught me that this isn’t possible. I have tons of data to support the fact that I can’t do life on my own. But my warped way of thinking hides the truth and makes up its own truth so that I can continue on expending all of my energy on a hopeless mission. I am destined to lose but I hold on to some glimmer of a hope that will never come to fruition.
More failure brings more pain and more pain brings me deeper into despair.
I remember the day that God gave me a moment of clarity. I recognized that my pity-party life wasn’t a death-sentence and that there was hope for me to live a life of not only holding my enemies off or surviving the onslaught but I could live in victory! I’m not the first to have this moment. I won’t be the last. There have been hundreds, maybe even thousands of those moments since then. I have one of those moments almost every single morning.
God’s Word is chock full of them. At first, that moment of clarity just shot from the heaven’s and hit me in the head and changed my heart. Since then, the moments come from other people like me, God’s Word and worship.
Psalm 13:1 O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? 2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? 3 Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. 4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
Other people like me, David was one of those. I can read his words and see his struggle. I have said nearly the exact same words. I have been shackled by my enemies and they have had the upper hand. I have shouted at the sky and imagined that there is no answer coming from the heavens. But the answer was there. I just chose not to listen because it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. David learned that no matter what today brought, that tomorrow could be better. He only had to do a couple of things, make a couple of adjustments to his thinking and his actions.
Psalm 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. 6 I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.
Because I cannot see God’s hands, I tend to assume they are idle. They are not. Because I cannot always feel God’s love, I think it goes away from time to time. It does not. Because I cannot see my enemies falling in defeat, I imagine that God’s love isn’t enough. It is always enough.
I must trust in his unfailing love. I can’t always see it today but when I look backwards, when I look at how I got here to where I am now, it is a giant wreaking havoc on anything that tried to harm me. He has indeed rescued me and will not let me go now. He will not throw me to the wolves and let them devour me.