Warning: This post comes from a very hurting heart. If you know me in real life, most likely you will strongly disagree with what is written here. If you choose to read it, don’t say you weren’t warned.
For a long time, I listened only to Christian music. I don’t have music on much at home, so the only time I play music is while driving or while I’m walking on a treadmill at the gym. For the latter, I have a workout playlist I listen to that consists of music I wouldn’t listen to at other times. I have been frustrated with Christian music for a while though. It all sounds the same, most of it is cheesy, and there is seldom anything new that is released. For a while, satellite radio was a better option, but even that station started playing the same music over and over again. Before I broke up with Christian music, there was a popular song being played (I’m sure it still is) that proclaimed repeatedly that God was a good, good, father. I am sure that most of the people who know me in real life know the song I am referring to.
I’ve never shied away from writing honestly about what I have been walking through. This time, though, I have been seriously hesitant to write at my customary level of transparency. The reason for that, I think, is because what I am feeling belongs to me. The thoughts I think belong to me. I don’t wish to project them onto anyone else. And, I know that feelings and thoughts are fickle. Today they can be toying with the darkest depths, but tomorrow they may have a little sunlight penetrating them. The impact of words is not lost on me, for I know the power they can have over a person. Even as I write this, I am contemplating changing the privacy of this post to private, the benefit in doing that being that I could still process my thoughts without causing someone else to think they are solidly true. We’ll see.
What does all this have to do with a song on Christian radio?
The last six months or so have been a living hell for me. I have been struggling physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Physically, my pain levels have had me in tears. Specifically, the neuropathy that is part of having MS has been difficult. It is mostly in my feet, although my hands have been slightly affected at times as well. If you grab a butane lighter and hold the flame to the bottoms of both your feet, you will be close to experiencing what I feel on a daily basis. (I don’t advocate actually doing that unless you are a sadist or something of that nature) Now, imagine that pain as you try to walk. Each time you place weight on your feet, the burning sensation intensifies. Imagine trying to sleep as you feel your feet to be on fire. That’s my reality right now. Every night I am in tears as I desperately need sleep yet am unable to fall asleep because of the pain.
Emotionally I have been in a place so dark that I have felt that darkness wrap itself around me and grip so tightly that I have thought for sure the breath would be sucked out of me never to return. I have, at times, literally believed I was about to die. People say that the darkness of depression lies to one’s mind. The thing is, even when a person knows the words being fed to the mind are lies, they hold so much power that they are not seen as such in the moment. It is in that moment–where the lies seem as truth–that I have been living for far too long. It is in that moment that I have wanted the pain to end so badly that I have been tempted to make that choice and listen to the lies. Obviously, since I am typing this, I haven’t done so. Still, as I have battled a fierce battle, I have wondered where God is in the darkness.
This brings me to the spiritual struggle. And the three aspects of my suffering combined is where the song about God being good rushes in to taunt me…
“You’re a good, good father, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I am loved by you, it’s who I am, it’s who I am…”
A few weeks ago, after spending some time seeing how the upper class lives, my husband and I were talking about money and life. I am not in the camp that believes money can’t buy happiness. I have never believed that statement. There are things money can’t buy, but happiness is not one of those things. Of course, since the definition of happiness varies from person to person, there are some who would agree with that statement. That’s for another post though. As we talked, I admitted to him that my faith, what little of it there has been lately, is starting to crumble. As I look back over the last six months, even beyond that, I don’t see much in the way of a good God. My life has been shrouded in unbelievably thick darkness. The world around me seems to be falling apart. I have stopped watching the news or even spending time on social media. It is too sad and depressing to read of all the pain and unfairness written there. People say, “Oh, you woke up this morning. Isn’t that good?” Honestly, no it isn’t always good. Sleep offers a reprieve from pain that nothing that can be obtained while awake does. There are many mornings I have wished I didn’t wake up. Sometimes I have wondered if a God even exists. I believe there had to be a creator. I stand at the ocean shore and wonder what stops the vast amount of water from taking over the land. There is order in nature. The water cycle is proof of that. A creator had to responsible for these and many other things in nature that have no explanation. But, the fact that there is an intelligent creator doesn’t necessarily mean that creator cares at all about me. How do I reconcile the pain in my own life and the turmoil, hurt, and unfairness both in my own life and in the world around me with the belief that these painful and unfair things come from a good God? It makes no sense. Some people have every opportunity afforded to them simply because they were born with a certain last name. Many others have nothing at all, and there are many in between. Some have worked hard for the things they have. Others want to work hard but are not able to find a job that allows them to use their talents. Others have and have hardly worked yet enjoy luxuries in spite of that fact.
This post is my attempt at sorting out the thoughts that have been my mind’s food for several months. These are thoughts that have flourished in the dark depths of despair. They have taunted me into the wee hours of the morning as I struggle to sleep through pain that refuses to relent. Thoughts such as:
“If God really is good, why does life suck so much for so many?”
“Of what value is my life?…I am unable to do so much of what I used to do. Why am I still here?”
“Where is God when I cry to him? What loving father ignores the cry of his child?”
“How much darkness can one soul take before the lights are snuffed out forever?”
I am struggling to find air in this dark pit. It is lonely and scary. Terrifying actually. I remember one time we took our kids to a cave. As we went deeper into the earth, our guide turned off all the lights. Our kids gripped us tightly as the darkness, thicker than anything I had ever experienced up to that point, enveloped us. They began to breathe heavier, almost struggling for air even though there was plenty of air to breathe. That is how I am feeling tonight. The darkness seems to have hands that are wrapping themselves around my neck and slowly tightening their grip.
If God really is good, now would be a great time for him to show that to me…