It could be the weather, coming out of Winter break, or the stress of trying to finish the house, but sometimes it just gets tough. You want to write, but you can’t make your fingers work. You want to read, but the pages don’t want to turn. You want to play music, but the instrument just won’t get into tune.
Part of me wants to break it down. To analyze. To offer a quick five-step solution that will magically fix things so I get back into the groove.
But let’s be honest.
These sorts of things tend to be a distraction from facing reality head on. If I can just hide behind the data, the process, the procedure then I won’t have to deal with the very real obstacle, dilemma, darkness, or depression right in front of me.
But one thing I’ve learned about myself over the last five years is that I have a tendency to put off dealing with what’s bothering me. The pressure builds and builds until one day I disappear for a few months on a sort of forced sabbatical.
Since I know this, I have little spells of depression more often than I did a few years ago but since I don’t push the negativity to the side, they don’t knock me down for as long as they used to.
The truth is that there is no one trick to solve all of our problems. Some things we have to jump, march, or dive into head first.
Like Job’s friends, people will offer solutions. But nobody knows your situation like yourself. And, as you know, there usually isn’t a simple solution or explanation. There may not even be a reason behind what you’re going through.
It may last a few hours, a day, or months, but I think the trick to facing it head on is asking “What lesson can I learn from this?” It also helps knowing that death is a requirement if one wishes to experience resurrection.
In other words, it may be bad now, but this may just be the slump you need to be resurrected into a new age of your life.
When I think about Job, I don’t think of the book as a literal contest between God and the Devil to see if Job would break or not, a contest in which an innocent man was ruthlessly tested by having almost everyone and everything he loved violently taken away from him. Instead, I see it as more of a satire to show that the righteous don’t always prosper and the wicked don’t always suffer like most people (religious and not) thinks they should. That there isn’t always a reasonable, conventional explanation for why things are the way they are. There isn’t always a sin that someone committed to cause this. That repentance, a few prayers, and a good deed a day might not actually keep the “Devil” away.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that when you feel like I sometimes do, it’s not your fault. Things happen and there are no reasonable explanations for them.
But there is good news. The gospel teaches that death isn’t the end; it is a prerequisite for resurrection. Life may get unimaginably difficult, but we serve a God who gives life to the dead and makes all things new through His Son. We know that there is real, legitimate healing available to everyone and everything around us if we have eyes to see.
But, again, let’s be honest.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that. Sometimes we might not even believe it. Sometimes we might cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” But thank God for the third day. Thank God that Jesus took on flesh and cried out those same words to His Father so that we we know we aren’t alone. Thank God for death because without it we wouldn’t have resurrection.
The early saints rejoiced in their suffering. Can we learn to do the same? Whether it’s psychological, spiritual, or physical? Maybe not always, maybe not right now, but perhaps one day (maybe even tomorrow) we can look back on it all and see how far we’ve come.
Job didn’t get the answers he was looking for. He never learns about the bet that happened behind the curtains. But we can learn from Job to be okay with not always having clear answers.
Sometimes, like Job, we just have to acknowledge God’s might, His power, His love, His goodness, and just pray.
And like Job we will experience resurrection.
Then Job answered the Lord and said, “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ “Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’ “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”Job 42:1–6