We know in our heads that God is with us always (Isaiah 41:10) and that He will never leave nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), but sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we cannot see God, hear God, or feel His loving presence in our lives.
Five chapters into Job’s story, we read, “Human beings are born to trouble as readily as sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7) We are broken people, living in a broken world, surrounded by broken family and friends – every single one of us “born to trouble.”
MENTAL ILLNESS CRASHED INTO THE WORLD
Mental illness crashed into the world the moment Adam’s teeth broke the skin of the forbidden fruit, and it has waged war with God’s precious people ever since.
In Psalm 88:6, David wrote, “You have put me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in the depths … You have afflicted me with all Your waves.”
In his nineteenth-century sermon, Honey in the Mouth, Charles Spurgeon said, “The mind can descend far lower than the body, for in it there are bottomless pits. The flesh can bear only a certain number of wounds and no more, but the soul can bleed in ten thousand ways, and die over and over again each hour.”
God knows us intimately, and He understands our struggles completely. There is not a single hair on a single head that He hasn’t counted, or the briefest shadow that He’s missed, or the smallest mutation of DNA He doesn’t know. He is with us every moment of every day, without fail, even when we cannot see Him or hear Him or feel Him.
Anguish, despair, grief, loss, pain, and sorrow fill the pages of Job’s extraordinary story and line the Psalms of lament:
- “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas…” (Job 6:2-3)
- “I will not keep silent. In the agony of my spirit, I will speak; In the bitterness of my soul, I will complain.” (Job 7:11)
- “My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief…” (Romans 9:2)
- “Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled?” (Psalm 42:5)
- “I have wept until I am exhausted; my throat is dry and hoarse; my eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to act.” (Psalm 69:3)
- “My soul is deeply troubled, and my heart can’t bear the weight of this sorrow. I feel so close to death.” (Psalm 88:3)
Yet what God allows, He has also purposed. We rejoice in, celebrate in, boast in, shout our praise amid, and “glory in our suffering because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)
“And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love.” (Romans 5:5)
“[T]he short-lived pains of this life are creating for us an eternal glory that does not compare to anything we know here.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
One day there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more darkness, no more anguish, and no more tears. “Behold,” says Almighty God, “I am making all things new.” (Revelation 3:4-5)