This week, I received several phone calls concerning problems which have surrounded friend’s lives. The horrific circumstances don’t seem fair or just. My friends are faced with problems that don’t appear to have any answers.
We’ve all been there. Most of us don’t walk from these times with our heads raised high. In fact, I wish I could remember the advice I gave them today the next time I’m walking through a deep valley of despair. I shared with my friends that often God’s plan for our lives isn’t readily visible to us until years later. It was good advice and I truly believe what I said.
However, the problem with problems is that problems are often so overwhelming that the problem is all that I can see. Faith, trust and God’s love for me are thrown quickly out the window as I stew in unbelief and piercing pain.
An additional problem with problems is that loneliness accompanies the tossing away of our belief in a good and loving Lord. Once you have tasted the love of God, there is not a more debilitating pain than trying to survive without the assuring knowledge of God’s love.
Slowly, we emerge from the fog of our problems back into the arms of our Lord and Savior. Years ago, I read a unforgetable book by a man who had spent years in a Soviet prison. As a Christian pastor, he was imprisoned as a lunatic. He was treated with mind-altering drugs. The book contained letters that were written during his time in this drugs-induced imprisonment.
I don’t remember the name of the author but I remember one sentence that he wrote. He said that many of the things he wrote while in prison weren’t theologically correct. Many were written through drugged, fear-filled nightmarish days. ”However,” he said, “the important thing is not how I felt during the time of my imprisonment. The important thing is that I loved Jesus when I went into prison and I loved Jesus when I came out.”
Often the problem with problems is that we believe that we are the doubting, fearful people without understanding that we were drugged by fear and doubt. We cannot accept that the important thing is that we loved Jesus when we faced an awful circumstance; and we still love Jesus when as we walk through the other side. What we say or think in the middle is not significant. The beginning and the ending are the important thing.
Depression and fear strike all of us. Who is your Savior when you enter the battle? Who is your Savior when you emerge from the war?