When God answers our prayers right away, we feel incredible! We love it when we feel heard and our requests are fulfilled soon after they were made. When we feel heard we feel close to God and have a sense that He is close to us as well.
But that isn’t always the case in the Christian walk. There are dark nights of the soul that we all experience. Battling a mental illness is certainly a walk through darkness.
When I first began going through my battle with depression, thoughts of suicide, and overwhelming intrusive thoughts- I trusted that God would deliver me from it. Growing up in a Christian household all of my life, I knew that God was going to be with me every step of the way. But then, my days of sadness turned into weeks and weeks into months. “God, where are you?” became my constant cry. After experiencing months of silence, I was convinced that it was my own fault that God felt distant. Maybe I wasn’t praying hard enough or wasn’t spending enough time in His Word? Maybe this was the result of a sin I had never repented of? Clearly I was doing something wrong for Him to feel distant because REAL Christians don’t feel this way.
And so, I turned my back on God because if He was ignoring me, then why would I bother going to Him at all?
When anyone goes through a battle with a mental illness, it is easy to think that it is your own fault. After going through endless amounts of therapy treatments and medication experiments, you would think that an individual would start to feel some sort of weight lifted off of their shoulders. And yes, that does happen for some, but what about for the people who don’t?
Psalm 13: 1-2 How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
In this Psalm of David, the words “how long” are repeated four times in the first two verses alone.
How many times have we felt similar to David? When battling with mental illness specifically, silence from God seem like a sign that He doesn’t care about you. Let me tell you my friends... that is not the truth.
It is not your fault that you are suffering. It is not your fault that therapy hasn’t given you any relief. It is not your fault that your doctors cannot find the right medication. It is not your fault that you feel abandoned by God. This distant feeling is more common than we are led to believe. David was a devoted servant of the Lord. It is clear through Scripture that he believes in the Lord as His Savior and lives his life to please Him. So why would a man after God’s own heart feel so much despair as seen in Psalm 13?
While I don’t know the exact answer to why suffering happens, I do know that Gods silence doesn’t mean He has stopped loving you. It does not mean that He has forgotten that you are hurting. One day, you WILL be delivered from the hardships you face.
As someone wise once said, “I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I know something’s starting right now...”
Alright, so maybe it was a Disney Princess by the name of Ariel who spoke (well actually sung) those words, but they are oddly relevant to your situation! Although we may not know when or how the Lord will use our suffering for good, you can trust with full confidence that the Lord is active in Your life right now. There is a purpose to all pain, and even though that doesn’t take the hurt that it brings away, it is comforting to know that there is a plan for each and every one of us.