“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!'” Mark 9:23, 24 (NKJV)
I have a true desire to have a healing, loving relationship with God, myself and others. I want to believe that is possible. Right now, I think I am in the worst struggle with my mental illness that I have ever experienced, and that is with the cooperation of doctors, therapists and medication. I believe that even though there appears to me to be a great disconnect, although God seems to be silent, I still believe he is guiding me and healing me. That may sound like a contradiction, and maybe it is, but I’m okay with that.
Paul Tillich closes his book called The Courage to Be with these words: “The courage to be is rooted in the God who appears when God has disappeared in the anxiety of doubt.” I don’t know if, when the doctors get my medication right, if my faith will improve. I don’t know if, after years of therapy, if my faith will improve. It could be, that I am just a skeptic, a doubter, and my continual suffering will be a plague of anxiety due to a seemingly silent God who seems to act from far away, even despite his own yearning for a better relationship with me.
I do believe that when I suffer, God suffers, because God is infinitely loving and compassionate. Although I struggle with my faith, although God seems silent so often, I think he watches over everyone, because he loves all of us. Like a heavenly gardener, he is always waiting for opportunities to tend to his creation, to give it what it needs to flourish, to thrive, and to be healthy and beautiful. I am a flower, and I need good soil, plenty of water, clean air and maybe some occasional fertilizer. I know God is doing these things for me, even while I can’t seem to bring myself to talk to him, to read the bible, or to do the things that the church instructs us all to do.
Maybe in some small way I do believe in God. Maybe there is hope for me, even as God has opened certain doors for me, and, after a while, I have slammed them shut. I do believe that there have been plenty more doors that have opened over the years, even if many of my friends and family do not understand or appreciate that. I have gone in directions of which many Christians would not approve, but I need to believe that those choices are equally as valid. I am on a tiny raft in a raging sea, but I have tied many ropes to many other tiny rafts, which are tied to larger and larger water crafts. Like mine, none of these crafts are perfect, but in the end, we will all get there, together.