A few days ago a Korean girl shared with me that her committed, Christian friend committed suicide after losing the depression battle.
This is the second time I’ve heard the committed Christian kills herself narrative this month from personal friends.
And of course there are plenty of other non-miracle stories which take place in faith-saturated, expectant, hopeful landscapes: the cancers that never healed, the pregnancies that never happened, the list goes on.
I wrote The Doughnut Hole some time ago, and a reader left an interesting comment:
“I think doughnuts are made with holes for a reason. To get them filled up ain’t 1 of them… Lol”
I thought that was really insightful and captured the dichotomy of the way we hope or should hope.
If we’re demanding paradise on earth, I do honestly believe we are deluded. We hope for, we work towards…but to demand God for something? Hmm. I am not sure our faith will survive our rose-tinted expectations. In fact, maybe our faith is not grounded in truth then.
Over the past six years I have wrestled with the absence of God (the perceived absence to be accurate), with longings unmet, with rage and anger, with disappointment, and I am glad that I did.
In this season, at this point, I am not wrestling with the “Why does God not answer my prayers or others’ prayers?” question. I am at peace. At the risk of sounding rude and insensitive to others who are going through their seasons of pain, I am not overly bothered by the question. It is on the shelf and maybe one day when I have a bigger capacity for compassion I will have the honour of journeying with someone through their pain.
What I’m going through now is…complex. It is precious. I am going through counselling and am peeling back layers of my past. I feel my shame. I see my brokenness and helplessness. I am unwell. My mind is slightly disconnected from reality. I am saying all of this so that if you are at this place, you find the encouragement and freedom to admit it too. (In fact I am impatient: how long do you want to wait before you admit it?)
I am not very well. I appreciate the understanding, grace, care, concern, love, support that I find in bits and pieces: at church, at work, from friends, from my family. God knows and provides what I need. I am sincerely grateful.
BUT. On the other hand, there is a deeply fierce, combative part of me that warns, don’t you dare look down on me and offer trite remarks. Don’t you dare look on me with pity. I reject that.
My God is good. If there were a picture of how I would be saying that, it would be as strong and as forceful as the sunrise. My. God. Is. Good.
It is funny. On one level there is confusion and anger, and on another level I praise God with all my breath.
People say to me at times, “I look at all you church leaders and I pity you because you have to work so hard”, or “Jasmine why are you tired all the time”.
I can take that and evaluate whether I’m overexerting myself and whether I’ve (once again!) positioned myself for burnout, but to pity me because I’m serving God?
You are deluded. You have missed out. You are mistaken deluded.
I have the highest privilege in the world.
My real friends point out to me and rebuke me whenever I miss that truth. And I do miss it at times: I make emotion-led decisions, I make mistakes…hey I am still rough around the edges and I suppose am famous for saying unbelievably blunt and stupid things! : ) But these friends, I hold in the highest honour and regard.
In between the lines I suppose I am suggesting that you be open to look for these friends in your life : ). And in between the in-between lines I am saying that I am still looking for friends.
Now I am laughing at myself…and it is 9am and time for work.