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Even If: Finding Hope in the Furnace of Psychological Illness

I had been drawn to Sarah Robinson’s story because the girl speaks so freely about believing the lie that being depressed or anxious made her a bad Christian. How easy it really is for each of us to assume that if we simply had enough trust or prayed the proper prayer or got over “that” bad thing, we would find recovery from mental disease or other tough circumstances. Sarah will remind us what is the majority of true about us, exactly what matters most : We are God’s dearest. Nothing we do can separate us from that adore, even in the darkest times. As Sarah says, it’s each really hard and it’s already okay. It’s a sophistication to welcome the girl to the farm’ ersus front porch today…

guest post by Dorothy Robinson

Maybe it was a mistake to come right here, I believe. I’m not shaking hard enough that anyone would notice, however it might just be a matter of time. At least I asked for the decaf to go.

We weigh my options and wait for the latte. Should I bolt for the safety of my car? If I stay, was I going to obtain any work accomplished or simply melt straight into tears?

“ It’s been like clockwork: anxiety attacks every afternoon. ”

My encounter is a mask of calm but the gut is in knot. I would like to stay and work. I slip the particular orange bottle from my purse and gulp down a tiny white tablet.

It’s been like clockwork: anxiety attacks every afternoon.

I text my husband, Micah, tell him I’m battling, then breathe deeply and settle at my laptop. It’s going to be okay.

My experience with depressive disorder and panic attacks is not new. I’ve resided with mental disease and even suicidal thoughts provided that I can remember. But I have discovered hope along the way.

I have discovered tools to defeat back the night. And I have found peace that will God is with me personally even though We never fully get over this battle.

One of the wealthiest biblical truths that will sustains me with this journey is found in the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three men had been Hebrew exiles in Babylon under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar. When King Nebuchadnezzar required that everyone worship a golden sculpture or be burned alive in a fiery furnace, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused.

The three men told King Nebuchadnezzar that God could deliver them from such death. “But even if he or she does not, we want you to definitely know, Your Majesty, that we will not provide your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (see Daniel 3: 16–18).

The king has been furious. He had the particular men tied up plus tossed into the furnace. He thought it was the end of the story, until he noticed something strange: the particular men were travelling in the furnace, untied and apparently unharmed. And a fourth number was with them who appeared “like an angel” or “like a son of the gods” (Daniel 3: 25). Many scholars believe that this figure has been actually Christ Himself, present with them within the fire.

For all those of us who learned this story on the flannelgraph or a good episode of Vegetable Tales , the message is clear: follow God. The promise is simply as obvious: when we are usually faithful to Our god, He will rescue us.

Yet this passage has much more to say than the sanitized Sunday college lessons of our childhoods. We regularly skip over this painful truth: God didn’t save them from the fire. He didn’t prevent them from encountering it.

Those 3 young men were full of faith that God was able to deliver them, however they had no idea if He would. They only understood, deep in their our bones, that God will be with these by means of everything.

“ Our God is able to conserve me, to recover me, to erase the pain and heartache in a moment. But even though He doesn’t, I refuse to bow to lose hope. ”

And that simple confidence was enough to inspire two of the most powerful words and phrases in Scripture: even if.

Although I’ve never stood in a literal furnace, I can relate to that will even if encounter.

The quiet assurance that will gets me via is this: my God is able to save me, in order to heal me, to erase the pain and heartache in a time. But even though He doesn’t, I will not bow to despair.

Even if I’m never completely delivered, I know that God is good and is present in my pain.

Even if I actually never get better and the black dog associated with depression hounds me till the day I die, Christ Themselves is with me in the middle of the flames.

Most Christians are used to seeing stories of triumph look a certain way: Our god vanquishes the Enemy and everyone lifestyles happily ever after. We are taught that the details of God are tidy and certain. Good people are blessed. Bad people are punished.

But that is not the truth and beauty of the gospel. At best, it’s the fairy tale. At most severe, it’s a scam sold by unethical people looking to gain something.

But I can promise you this: though we have bleak and difficult and anxious days, ours are still tales of triumph. Ours continue to be stories of alteration. And even though Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not have a single locks singed, they certainly came out of the fire changed. And so perform we.

In the fire, we learn that hope can’t relax solely on the actions of God, on miraculous healings, or on answers in order to mysteries we can’t comprehend.

Instead, our hope sits on the character of a God who will be love, who somehow provides beauty out of the ugliest ashes. We don’t have to be healed, we don’t have to be on the other hand of it, to know that He is good and He’s transforming us.

“ Our own hope rests in the character of the God who is adore, who somehow provides beauty out of the ugliest ashes. ”

As I leave the coffee shop, I actually raise my eyes to find the golden-hour sunlight. Dark times don’t last permanently, I actually whisper to personally. I know now what I didn’t know for years: I’m going to be just fine. I am no less adored, no less worthy since I struggle with mental illness. I don’t have to conceal the hurt. But it sure isn’t going to run my life.

I know how you can speak kindly in order to myself now . I know when in order to press through and when to take a break—at least better than I used to.

I am aware to not blame personally. I know to extend grace. I understand at some point, it’s all going to be okay again.

But the real truth, the thing that I tell myself over and over, is that it is usually alright. Right now.

Even with my disease, I’m convinced that life is beautiful. I’ve discovered to see the countless presents woven in the material of each day, to delight in what it means to live as the beloved of God.

I’m living proof of beauty from ashes. My life is rich and full, better than I ever might have hoped.

I’m surprised from the self-compassion God provides taught me , by the kindness I have learned to extend not merely to others, yet to myself.

I’m surprised when I try the mirror and like what I observe, when I don’t beat myself up for the tiniest mistake, and when I rest in the simple self-confidence that I am completely loved and completely accepted.

I am no less cherished, no less worthy due to the fact I struggle with psychological illness.

But the biggest surprise of all has been finding that I can struggle with despression symptoms and anxiety, also sometimes dark thoughts of suicide, but still have a life along with God full of peacefulness, contentment, and joy.

As much as I would adore God to wave a magic wand and put my spirit back together with no cracks and scars, I am grateful. I know the Comforter because I have been encouraged. I know a God who seem to sees me and is present with me. That makes all the difference.

Whatever you are fighting today, this is what you should know:

You aren’t alone. This can be done. There are beautiful surprises ahead.

And Lord is with you. Even—especially—in the fire.

Drawing from her own story together with a decade of ministry experience and work in the mental health field, Sarah L. Robinson helps other people fight for wholeness and cultivate joy from sarahjrobinson. com. Dorothy lives in Nashville along with her husband.

In I Love Christ, But I Want to Expire : Finding Hope within the Darkness of Major depression , Dorothy offers a healthy, practical, and shame-free guide for Christians struggling with mental illness. With unflinching honesty, Dorothy shares her tale of battling major depression and fighting to remain alive despite toxic theology that made her afraid to seek help outside the cathedral. Partnering her own story along with scriptural insights, psychological health research, and simple practices, Dorothy helps you reconnect with the God who is contained in our deepest anguish and discover that you are worth everything it takes to get better.

Beautifully written and full of hard-won intelligence, I Love Jesus, Yet I Want to Die offers a path toward the rich, hope-filled lifetime in Christ, even when healing doesn’t seem like what you expect.

[ Our humble thanks to Waterbrook for their partnership in today’s devotion ]