It's certainly not the first time I have wallowed in depression, overwhelmed by the trials of life, at the end of my rope, so to speak.
It likely won't be the last.
This morning I read "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis. The reading did not lift the weight off of my shoulders, but it gave me some small comfort knowing that I am not alone in my struggle to understand, and even cope with, this world as it really is.
It's a messy place, this world. Nasty and confusing. An honest assessment brings the conclusion that nothing is right with the place. There are too many sorrows, too many pains, too many tsunamis and earthquakes and floods. All is not right with the world.
It begs the question, "Is God in control?" I firmly believe He is. Not going to debate or discuss that here.
Then, if He is in control, "Is He good?"
C.S. Lewis agonized over that question when considering the death of his one true love. People told him, "She is at rest" and "She is in God's hands".
"Because she is in God's hands." But if so, she was in God's hands all the time, and I have seen what they did to her here. Do they suddenly become gentler to us the moment we are out of the body? And if so, why? If God's goodness is inconsistent with hurting us, then either God is not good or there is no God: for in the only life we know He hurts us beyond our worst fears and beyond all we can imagine. If it is consistent with hurting us, then He may hurt us after death as unendurably as before it."
What reason do we have to believe God is good? Doesn't all of the evidence speak the opposite? It does, until you consider Christ. He took upon Himself the sin of the whole world, and paid its terrible price. We partake in His sufferings in a very minute manner, and in the end, in eternity, it will all make sense.
2 Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
So we do not lose heart. Sigh.
C.S. Lewis wrestled with the thought that he might never see his beloved Joy again.
He wrote, "When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of "No answer." It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, "Peace, child, you don't understand."
Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask - half our great theological and metaphysical problems - are like that."
Is God good? That's a nonsense question. He's very good.
But not at all tame.
As Mr Beaver says to Lucy in C S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia ”He’s not a tame lion!” Nor is He “safe.”
In that same passage from the book, Lucy asks Mr Beaver if Aslan, the Lion representing Christ, is “safe”. To which he responds, "Safe? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
God is good.
He's the King, I tell you.