In Daniel Chapter 3, we see Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego cast into a furnace for refusing to commit idolatry. However, a fourth figure was witnessed in the flames, who was presumably a pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. And that type of companionship is exactly what I want to talk about in this week’s Faith & Healing.
I refer a lot to the dark tales of mental illness. Another powerful metaphor would be the fires of hell, or in the case of Daniel Chapter 3, the fires or torture or torment or execution. Because I know for me that there were definitely times where my depression, my anxiety, felt like my own personal hell. And although I couldn’t see it, I do believe that I wasn’t alone in that fire.
What is most interesting about that to me is that at the time it seemed that I only ever believed in God in order to be angry at him, to blame him for the battles I was facing. However, looking back on where I’ve been, I can understand that this depression may have been a part of God’s plan, giving me a trial which would ultimately help me come closer to him, but also find myself in a position where I can help others with their battles.
And don’t get me wrong, though this might be a part of God’s plan, it certainly doesn’t seem like a “gift.” There are a great many things that are truly dark and terrible about living with mental illness. Yet God does not ever promise it will be easy. Ever since The Fall in the Garden of Eden, we have seen that humanity has been defined by struggle, sacrifice, and at times, suffering. As I said, God does not promise that it will be easy. He does not promise that it will be pain free. He only promises that he will be there with us in the fire. He will be there to carry us when it becomes to hard for us to carry ourselves.
The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is a story that is deeply personal to me giving mine own journey through the fires of the hell of depression, fires that still occasionally pull me back down. Yet I share this story because Christ’s presence in those flames helps comfort me during those dark tales. Maybe this concept is something that would be beneficial to you, maybe not. God made us all unique, and when it comes to the darkness of mental illness, every experience and every recovery is unique. Part of what this series, Faith & Healing, is all about is sharing my thoughts and my experiences in faith and recovery. If something speaks to you, great, if not, know that there is something out there that might. And if there is anything you would like to see featured in this series, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Until next time, be well.