Back in the time of my wandering in the wilderness (biblically, metaphorically-speaking) during my 20's and much of my 30's I was lost inside my own head and lost from the world as I suffered under the heavy burden and dark oppression of mental illness and spiritual desolation. This was the direct result of both spiritual as well as social things in my environment such as my father's untimely death when I was 15 and then losing Grandpa McGee when I was 18 just three years later which makes this time of year difficult. All the while I was dealing with the social drama on both sides of my family (and within it my immediate family) along with all the crap that comes with coming of age at that time. The real topper on this story was my having God actively in my life yet wanting little to do with Him. This placed me in direct conflict with the Him which is never a great idea.
There were multiple levels of environmental causation for this as well as spiritual causation from my losing my dad and not having any males in the family step in and be my mentor and father figure to my being under God's reproof for my pride, stubbornness, idleness, selfishness, and unthankfulness. My mental illness took the form of major depressive disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder that I know of and perhaps others I don't yet realize.
I have turned back to God and I am doing ever better on all fronts, spiritual, mental-emotional-psychological, physical, social, academic, etc. This is not to say I don't experience up and downs and plateaus and an occasional two-steps-backward-to-get-three-steps-forward any different than anybody else. However, at least I am in a consistently healthy place yet with room to improve in some areas that continue to bedevil me and yet I am still ever growing and evolving.
On a morning a month ago at church I found myself reading my Bible in the cafe and opened to this passage and was blown away by it as it caused me to recall that dark place I know so well but have not been in for some time now. I am dividing this up into two parts for the sake of functionality on this blog and ease of perusal for you, the reader. The FIRST PART offered an insight into the place I was during those dark years, a place which I realize others have been in although in a different context and for a different purpose. This sequel offers the upshot resolution to my ongoing story, to wit, what I had to do to get back on track with God.
"It is of God's manifold mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassion fails not.
They are renewed every morning: how great is your faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, I say to myself; therefore will I hope in Him.
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him.
It advantages a person to both hope in and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
It is beneficial that a person bear their yokes in the time of their youth.
They sit in silent solitude, because He hath laid this yoke upon them.
They put their face in the dirt, if yet there may be hope.
They offer their cheek to them that smite it: they are fully reproached.
For the Lord will not cast us away forever: but though He inflicts grief upon us, yet will He show compassion according to his manifold mercies.
For He does not enthusiastically cause harm to people.
Crushing underfoot those in bondage in the Earth, depriving people of justice before God, and defrauding people in their endeavors, the Lord does not approve.
Who says anything at all and it happens when God has not commanded it thus?
Out of God's mouth proceeds not things both bad and good?
Why do the living complain about the punishment of their sins?
Let us examine ourselves and judge our ways and turn back to God.
May we offer upward our hearts to God in the heavens.
We have transgressed and rebelled and you have not pardoned us.
You have enveloped us in your anger and persecuted us: you have killed us seemingly without pity.
You have obscured yourself from us as if with a cloud so that our prayer should not reach you.
You have relegated us to the status of scum and garbage in the eyes of other people.
All of our enemies have criticized us.
Fear and hazard has come upon us, desolation and destruction."
~Lamentations 3:22-47 (Kimicus ad Absurdum translation)