Lately, I’ll admit I’ve struggled with the ‘why?’ a lot. These past few years have been both a joyous time and a rough time for me and my family. Our littlest one was born in summer 2016 happy and healthy, and we are thankful. It was a bumpy ride getting through the pregnancy, and has gotten bumpier and busier with other stuff going on since, but she’s been a joy in our lives.
I started blogging here a few years back to openly share some of my struggles and questions and things that I am learning in my studies of the Bible, the way I feel like God’s Word speaks to me and how to apply it, because writing is a good therapy for me, and I hope my experience can help encourage someone, just as so many posts on here have encouraged me along the way too.
Often the studies leave me with more questions than answers, but that’s okay. I think I’m being taught a lesson here, maybe it’s to trust Him when I don’t know or understand. So often I want things in black and white with no extraneous spaces in between, spelled out in specific detail. I think it’s just human nature (don’t I wish my kids had come with instruction manuals too?!).
I struggle with OCD. Some days, weeks, and months are better than others. Sometimes it’s exacerbated by stress, other times it flares up out of the clear blue. My 19 year old daughter was, after several inpatient stays where we couldn’t figure out what was wrong, finally diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, and my mom is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and we are currently waiting on a neurology referral to find out if she has had a stroke or has an underlying neurological disorder that is causing her difficulty with movements and normal activities of daily living. She is not yet even 60, but has just in the past few months declined significantly both mentally and physically, and my sister and I are currently sharing caregiving tasks.
I say all of this because mental illness is one thing I definitely don’t understand. And I get that we live in a fallen, sin-filled world where sickness and disease runs rampant. But it hurts to suffer, and to see the ones you love suffer, and you try to trust in the Lord, knowing that He has the answer, but you can’t help but wonder why He won’t give it to you. Where is the cure? Where is the healing?
It’s times like these when I hang onto the words that Jesus said even more. I don’t want to let go. I pray when struggles come that I’ll run to Him, not away (been there, done that). Deep down in my heart of hearts, I know the Truth, even when I get discouraged.
So, in my study today, I was reading about the guy commonly known as Doubting Thomas in John chapter 20.
It says, “Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to Him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’
So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said ‘Peace to you!’
Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at my hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving but believing.’
And Thomas answered Him and said, ‘My Lord and my God!’
Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’ (vv 24-29 NKJV).”
Did you catch that last sentence? That’s what got me. He says we are blessed when we believe when we haven’t seen. So often, I wish Jesus were standing in front of me and I could reach out and hug Him or talk with Him face to face. And oh how easy is it for me to say, “Well, if you’re there, why don’t You heal this problem, or why don’t You show me a sign?”
But then, the cross. Oh, I guess He did give me a sign. Oops. And when I think about what He did for me on the cross, how much He’s forgiven me for, how many second, third, fourth, umpteen chances He’s given me, and the things He’s delivered me from, all of a sudden I fall silent.
I’m still left with questions. Will there ever be a cure for the mental illness? Will we ever be delivered? Will it always be this hard? What part does all of this play in God’s plan for my life? How is He going to bring good out of this?
But when I read His words to Thomas, I realize the questions are okay. But He’s not asking me to figure it all out. He’s just asking me to believe.
“Father, I thank You for the hope I have through your Son Jesus. I thank You that through Thomas’ story, I can see myself and identify. I do believe, Lord, help me in times of my doubt and unbelief. Please forgive me for the times I don’t trust You enough. Please give me strength, both physically and in my walk of faith, that I would not waver, that I will be obedient even when I can’t see. I pray for others struggling with mental or physical health issues, Lord, that You would wrap Your arms around them with Your peace and Your presence as well, Lord. Thank You for all that You have brought me through. I pray that through it all You would be glorified. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”