Lately I have been thinking about how many people struggle with depression. That constant feeling that there's no purpose. Having not even an ounce of drive, and just feeling so utterly listless that it would drive you crazy except you.just.don't.care.
I've been there. It's so paralyzing. There's no kind words you can say to get someone out of that. It's beyond human. Positive thinking is really great and often works wonders, but it can't touch this state. And that's really humbling. I couldn't do a thing to get myself out of that, I really couldn't. Bring me all the ice cream in the world, it honestly didn't help. My friends were praying for me, it honestly didn't help. Even me praying didn't help. I didn't usually feel any better after talking to God. This was scary, too. He was supposed to be there to get me out of this, but he wasn't.
At the crux of it, I found that I couldn't control God. Elementary, I know. But listen: I couldn't use him. He wasn't a genie, or magic solution - I could pray to him and feel absolutely 0% different.
That's not what I had come to expect. If you're not going to take this away, Lord, at least show me you're there.
And then I realized, he didn't have to respond. He had already given me what I needed in that time. The truth. That he loved me, more than I could fathom. He did not, on the other hand, ever promise to make me feel better.The hard reality is, God does what he wants. And what he "wants" is the ultimate plan of the universe. That plan is a love story.
"Well if he loved us, he would show it by revealing himself to us, to give us hope." To be blunt, well ... that's what you think. God apparently has a slightly different definition of love. His love is so great and unknowable. His love lets us experience some incredibly difficult and downright agonizing times. To our human understanding of love this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Yes, we know that tough times make people stronger - but I'm talking REAL horrific things here. Worse than depression. How can we sit here and believe that God just allows or even sovereignly ordains that?
I am treading on some extremely difficult ground right here. Most of you reading this have experienced a horrible valley, probably worse than mine. For a long time I felt I could never say these truths - about God's sovereign love - to people going through deep valleys. But I can't hold back. The truth is the truth, no matter if it offends or makes someone feel bad. If I'm offending you right now, please don't stop reading yet.
EVERYTHING works together for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purposes. I know you've heard that verse a million and a half times. Read it again. Grasp what it means. This is not some lame promise - this is a rock solid foundation to build your entire life upon. God LOVES. His love does the strangest things. The most painful things. And do not forget: His love heals the pain and makes clear the strangeness (though usually not until we transfer to the greater Life).
God is not defined (thank the Lord!) by our human concepts of love. His love let the most kind, wise and good man you can imagine, suffer for hours in a excruciating, gruesome death. And let me add, he didn't only let that happen. He planned it. This kind of suffering is the epitome of "not fair" and the opposite of love to most of our brains. Imagine with me for a moment that the story stopped there. Our whole lives we were left with the most cruel, un-loving thing planned by the God who created us, and there was nothing to but 1; reject this "god" and say he is utterly unloving, or 2; fall on your face before him, cry that you don't understand, and give him your utter trust. That's literally all we can do. It's okay to cry. It's okay to be angry, even. But is necessary to trust Him.
We know the end of that story. The resurrection of our Savior and how the pain was not for nothing, but for his full glory and the redemption of his chosen bride. But we don't usually know the end of our stories while we're right in the middle of them.
Honestly, the most true and best advice I know to give is this: don't try to understand it. Give up trying to figure God out. We can't. He's infinitely too beyond us. The more you try to put what is happening and what you are feeling into human terms the more unfair it will seem and harder it will be to focus on TRUTH. Just trust.