The Faith to Wonder

At what point does depression turn to a desperation strong enough to consider suicide? I’ve considered it a number of times over the last 25 years. But the times that I got closest were times that a little voice whispered to me – over and over again: “It never gets better.”

It would be pretty easy for any of us to look back and make a list of the ugly things we have experienced. For example, in the first six months of this year, my best friend became extremely ill and I nursed her through illness and surgery, another of my closest friends was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently died, my great-aunt died of leukemia, and my uncle died of complications from pulmonary fibrosis. There were days I felt like I was lost in the fog and nights that I felt smothered in darkness. But I never quite got to that place of, “It never gets better.”

I’ve always wanted to believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes, it’s easier to believe that than others. And I can’t imagine what I would have believed if I were in the place where this week’s chapter of “The Hiding Place” finds Corrie. Horribly ill with the flu – fevered and nearly delirious – Corrie has been snatched from her bed and marched off with a large group of others and put in prison. She is separated from every single person she knows – including her beloved father, both of her sisters, and many other well-loved family and friends. And with nothing but the clothes on her back, she’s thrown into a dirty, drafty prison cell, where she’s not even given medicine for her sickness. When someone in authority finally realizes the extent of her sickness, she’s taken to the doctor and diagnosed, then put into solitary confinement, where she becomes too weak to even stand up and walk to the cell door to accept her very meager meals.

What would I have felt at that point? Would I have been able to continue living and fighting for my survival? I like to think so, but I know what a whiny baby I’m like when I’m sick and tucked into my very own soft, clean bed. My parents and my doctor are only a phone call away. My upstairs neighbor comes down and offers me soup and essential oils. My next door neighbor has her teenage sons take out my garbage and water my plants.

Corrie gives me new perspective:

“Was it possible that this – all of this that seemed so wasteful and needless – this war, Scheveningen prison, this very cell, none of it was unforeseen or accidental? Could it be part of the pattern first revealed in the Gospels? Hadn’t Jesus…been defeated as utterly and unarguably as our little group and our small plans had been? But…if the Gospels were truly the pattern of God’s activity, then defeat was only the beginning. I would look around at the bare little cell and wonder what conceivable victory could come from a place like this.” (ebook location 2846)

Instead of growing desperate and giving up… Instead of saying, “It’s never going to get better!” Corrie was able to lie there – even in loneliness, sickness, weakness, and discomfort… even after learning of the death of her beloved father – and wonder about the victory to come. She surely felt sadness. She surely felt concern, worry, fear, and doubt. But she still had enough faith to wonder. And in that faith, was life.

This post is part of a weekly discussion on Corrie ten Boom’s classic, “The Hiding Place.” You do not have to read the book to weigh in on whatever topic is being discussed. However, if you have written a response to this week’s chapter, feel free to link it up at the widget below. Then go visit Jason, my co-facilitator, at Connecting to Impact, to see what he has to say.

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  1. Barbara Capps says:

    We have all experienced things like you talked about, some worse than others.. But as you said we have to have enough faith to “wonder”… Corrie was certainly a very strong woman, and a very good example to all of us..

  2. Sarah, Thank you for highlighting this wonderful book. Corrie has long been one of my heroes. As I am lying here at 1:30 pondering the state of the world (can’t sleep) I am reminded that God is still on the throne and in control. It’s easy to forget that when you are deep in despair. I cant imagine being in a place beyond depression, to have no hope that things will change. But as believers we can look through the despair and cling to the Word we’ve hid in our heart. I guess we can take some comfort in the fact that many people in the Bible were in that place of despair but they clung to hope knowing that God would somehow see them through the darkness. He always brought them out the other side. And it wasn’t all for nothing. There was a purpose in it, that God might be glorified and others might be given hope by their experiences.

  3. Highlighted that same part. It does amaze me that in the midst of such unbroken despair she was able to experience such clarity and hope. Reassures me again that the encouragement of Hebrews 12 is so true, we need to consider how Jesus suffered at the hand of sinners and not lose heart. There is joy set before us, even if that joy is with Him in eternity. So glad you’ve held on to your hope, Sarah. 🙂 Thank you.

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