Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.
I heard of a person who was a Christian. He got very sick to the point of death. On his deathbed he wondered where God was?
Maybe you have never been faced with this extreme. Perhaps the closest you have come to death is to witness a loved one passing on. However, since this is a mental health blog you probably have some experience with mental illness. Whether as a caregiver or suffering from an ailment. Where then is God in the midst of your hardship?
First of all faith is a gift and it is made better when it is tested. That is to say the we are all works in progress. Think of yourself as an athlete. No matter what the sport, the contestants must undergo training to improve their skills. When a good coach gets to work with a very exceptional and talented individual who shows a lot of promise, the intensity of the training gets harder. So to suffer on Earth really isn’t a sign of God’s anger, but perhaps God’s favor.
Easy for you to say? There was a time where I thought that God had abandoned me. My life consisted of sitting in the backyard and smoking cigarettes once an hour. I didn’t have any grand vision in my pain and suffering, but I desperately clung on to the little hope that I had.
The story of Joseph is an excellent example, as many people know it outside of Christianity. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. Yet Joseph didn’t give up. Rather in Potiphar’s house he made the best of his enslavement. In other words, Joseph became a good slave, something I imagine that was very difficult for him. Being so faithful, Joseph ran the entire household. When Potiphar’s wife wanted to have sex with Joseph, he did the right thing and refused. Then on her lie Joseph was thrown into jail.
Talk about going from the pot into the fire. Still in jail Joseph made the best of life. He did not give up on life and he never let go of hope. Joseph became a good prisoner, eventually earning the jailer’s trust and favor. Then one day Joseph interpreted two men’s dreams. One was to be put to death and the other to be restored as cup bearer of Pharaoh himself. All Joseph asked the cup bearer was to remember him. Sure enough, the interpretations of the dreams came true. Unfortunately for Joseph, he was forgotten.
The story didn’t end there. One day Pharaoh himself had a dream. The cup bearer, recalling Joseph, fetched the man from prison to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Seven years of plenty were coming to the world followed by seven years of severe famine. After Joseph interpreted the dream of Pharaoh, Joseph was put in charge of Egypt to prepare for the upcoming famine.
Now here are the most important aspects of the story. One is that God had a clear and distinct purpose for Joseph. In the end, Joseph saved thousands if not millions of lives. More on subject, it was in the suffering that Joseph learned the skills necessary to meet his ultimate destiny. So I say to you that if you are going through living hell, hold on, because the lessons of today will bless others tomorrow.
I have suffered from bipolar for thirty years. In that time I have found no kinder or giving group of people than the mentally ill. Don’t allow the world to define you and look down at you. Look at the present state of the world and see how good all these people who turn up their noses at you are doing. Man is destroying the world. If we took the people in the asylums and put them in power and took the people in power and put them in the asylums, well the world would be better off.
In the worst times the character of a person is being forged for the best times. Embrace your cross because the weight you carry now will one day make you strong.