At the risk of sounding a little "glass half empty" I'll say my favorite Biblical characters are Eve and Job. Always have been. I appreciate the spiritual giants and the people you can model your life after, but I just really connect better to these friends. Rejoicing with those who rejoice does not come naturally for me. It's much easier for me to empathize with those who are suffering. I have chronicled my own journey with depression on here before and still get comments on those posts. So, when the pastor at the church I'm attending announced he was starting a series on Job on Wednesday nights I was secretly thrilled :)
I attended a 4 year Methodist college where I got my degree is psychology. I also have a minor in Biblical studies and Old Testament Prophets. I'm grateful for those years and the constant stream of Biblical knowledge that came my way, but what I remember most about those times is the classes on Job. I love a topic that doesn't end and I certainly had the best of the best in Biblical professors. They couldn't reach a final conclusion on Job either. It's a hard book and I adore it. I get asked the same questions Job asked of the Lord just about every weekend. Suffering is hard to explain. The mind of God is even harder to comprehend. It's not much consolation in the midst of a trial to know that God has it all figured out "in the grand scheme of things."
Sometimes I think we do need answers. Sometimes I think we can shake the door off the heavenly hinges and beg God to please answer us only to feel like all of Heaven is silent. I do not think God is required ever to give us any, but at some points He does. It's so hard to trust God in the silence, but it is necessary for the development of a strong foundation of faith.
Have you felt like giving up lately? Me too. Twice today! I always get to the place in Job where he has just lost everything and I want to throw my Bible at his depressed and damaged self and say, "WAIT, it gets better! You get it all back and more!! You suffer well! You make it! You just haven't read the end of the story!" But on that rock covered in sores, lonely, surrounded by the counsel of the unhelpful Job doesn't know that. And we don't either.
I always re-read Sheila Walsh's biography when I hit a silent patch with the Lord. Today she's an established writer, speaker, has a beautiful family and 2 cute dogs :) But it wasn't that many years ago that she was sitting on a bridge trying to decide why she shouldn't jump off. Following that, she spent a month in a mental institution and the complete revamping of her life. Even with all that the Lord gave back to her, she still struggles with depression. She didn't know sitting on the edge of the bridge that night that eventually she would get everything back and more. She also didn't know that she would continue to struggle.
Lately I'm not praying for a map for this life. I'm trusting, like Job, that the questions are welcome. I'm trusting He is the Map. And all I can see is page 6, but there's a whole story still to be written. And I think it's okay to look at the last page once in awhile and see that we win. Depression, heartache, sickness, disease, death - their days are numbered.
I don't know where life finds you tonight, but if you feel like you're on a rock in the middle of nowhere, stuck spiritually, hurt emotionally, a mess psychologically, not where you want to be physically, in an endless cycle mentally, messing everything up relationally, feeling like no one that's offering advice is helping, and ultimately very alone-know that you're not. The creator of the entire universe and every cell in your broken heart is with you, believing in you and whispering in your ear, "I know the end of the story. Don't give up. The best is yet to be."