“8Look, I go forward, but He is not there. And backward, but I cannot perceive Him; 9when He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. 10But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:8-10 (NKJV)
I’ve written a little about my bout with depression before, and in that post I mentioned how Job knew that no matter what, God was still there. Recently, I’ve fallen into a depressive state again (though I wouldn’t say that I am depressed), and I’ve been struggling with it. I mean, there are a lot of good things happening in my life, but there are things that I’ve worried about, too.
Yesterday was the third day of my latest migraine. I didn’t start getting migraines until a few years ago, and they started to get really bad and more frequent earlier this year. I would say that part of the reason is due to stress from dealing with my break-up with JM and going back to school full time. Yesterday was also Sunday, so in spite of the pounding in my head, I went to church. I managed to get through worship, but by the time break time came so the pastor could get set up, I was in sorry shape. As I sat in the fellowship hall debating whether or not I should go in to try to listen to the sermon, I got the rather strong urge to find someone to pray for my head right then and there. I found two ladies who had yet to go in to the sanctuary and they were more than willing to pray for me. I sat in a chair while they prayed over me, and then one started to rub my neck and shoulders. She asked me if there were a lot of tension spots. I laughed and said, “Probably.” She then said that there were things I needed to let go, so while she ministered to my neck, I bent my head and in a jumble of words poured out some of my immediate concerns to God. When she finished, and though I wasn’t anywhere near to be finished, my migraine was almost gone. Not completely, but almost. It stayed that way for the rest of the time I was at church.
What she said got me thinking more about things that I need to let go. See, I have a hard time letting go of things. I tend to try to rely on myself more than on God. I get worried about things very easily and then I try to figure out how to resolve these worries. Recently, it’s been about finances – getting things together for school, finding a place to live, paying my phone bill, etc. Unfortunately, I also have the bad habit of procrastinating. So many times things are left to the last minute, which only adds to the stress. I realized a long time ago that it was this combination, among a few other things, that was a catalyst to my prior depression. However, I chose to blame God for everything. When I read this passage in Job the first time, I was amazed how the first two verses encompassed exactly how I felt. But then I got to verse 10: “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” God wanted me to read that verse that day. In it, He was telling me, “I know how you felt that I wasn’t there, but I was. I still am. I know everything that has gone on with you, and I know what is yet to happen. I allow you to go through things like this because it refines you. Gold has to go through the refining process to gain its purity. So it is with you. This will not be the last time you will go through hardship, but know that there is purpose in everything I do.” As far as encouragement goes, it’s not a “feel-good” kind of thing, but to me something clicked.
It’s so hard to keep that in mind, though, and when that kind lady told me I needed to let go of things, it was nothing but a gentle reminder from God. There are other things I need to let go, as well. It’s the dross of my life. As each impurity rises to the surface, God removes it. I just need to stop being so stubborn.