I struggled a lot with depression. Telling the whole of that story is another multi post series. But what I want to say here is that I read a book by Ann Voskamp called 1000 Gifts and it was transformative. Thankfully this groundwork had been laid for two years in me by the time I was seriously considering abandoning God. I didn’t believe I could go on. At this point in the reflection, I wrote:
"And the faintest faith sometimes I can muster is to be grateful to God each day. 1 Thess. 5:8 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God is good. Sometimes giving thanks to God is the faintest and only act of faith I can do. But that gratitude reminds me that God is good. The pain, the despair, the anger, my hurt distract me from His goodness. But the glimmer of hope that gratitude to God provides me is somehow enough hope to give thanks again. And go one more day without walking away. Maybe I’ll yet see Jesus today.
I am frequently not happy. So too I think that it is healthy and even necessary to talk about the temptation of apostasy. Because if it is not confessed it will only continue to grow in us instead of being released from us. I was encouraged by the realization that the temptation of apostasy proves that faith is still alive in me. Because I cannot forsake what I do not have. I was encouraged by the odd realization that the temptation of apostasy is not from God; it’s from satan. And even though I had given up on me, the demons hadn’t.
These two realizations make the temptation more bearable because it means maybe. Maybe I won't walk away. God promises to give us the strength to bear all temptations and trials. Isaiah 30 says in quietness and trust is our strength. I don’t have to fear silence. The silence is actually what builds trust. Because when God doesn’t seem to speak but remains faithful, I learn to trust Him. The awareness, then, of temptation and faith’s presence work together to pull the suffocating hands of apostasy back just a breadth and that breath which enters is hope.”
I’ve heard stories of people who have left the church because it wasn’t ok for them to continue to have problems working out their salvations. So I hope that this story encourages you to ask God hard questions. I hope it encourages you to persevere. And I hope it encourages you that if you are struggling with something which seems too dark or too terrible that you will share it with us. And I pray that Christ in you, which is your hope, will awaken in you.
There is hope for you. The story Mark tells doesn’t end with a dead child. He says:
27 But Jesus, taking him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.