Dear Christian Counselor,
I have been married for over 35 years, and we have had good times and bad, like everyone else, but last week my husband said one thing to me and it killed me. I have tried with ALL my heart to trust God over the years and I even fail at that. I have had friends that I have known since kindergarten that STILL have a close relationship with God… how do people do that? I admit when I try to read the Bible I do not make it very long because I don’t understand it. I have understood four books in my life. I am making and thinking about doing some very deep and dark art. I think that if I had God to make me feel the way all these other people have felt, then maybe I wouldn’t have to die to live. So my desperate plea to you…. How does a heart that is dying trust God?
Deep and Dark
Dear Deep and Dark,
First, if you are feeling suicidal, please tell your husband or someone else you trust or a doctor or a counselor. I can guarantee you, because my father committed suicide, that your attempt would wound everyone you know. They would carry it with them for the rest of their lives. Don’t do that to them. It sounds like you are really depressed. Get help. You can get through this. I have.
The short (and possibly not very satisfying) answer to the trust question is that you trust God in the middle of the mess. Trusting God doesn’t mean you suddenly feel better; it means you trust Him anyway. You trust Him in your pain and distress and dark art and deadness of heart. I love that you can pour out your emotions through art, by the way – that’s a great thing to do – it’s another form of prayer. Just practice it in a way that doesn’t hurt you or anyone else so that it IS prayer.
Some people seem to have a simple connection with God that others don’t. I am not one of them. If you add them all up, I have spent many years of anger, doubt and dryness toward God in my life. Even Jesus felt that God had forsaken Him at one point. I don’t know why that is, but I do know that all the stories have a happy ending (Rev. 21:4), and sometimes that’s all we can know – not how or when or how much it will hurt in the meantime. Maybe it brings God more glory and us more reward when we barely hang on than if we had one of those easy relationships we envy in others.
As to books, it is not necessary that you read them. Only in the last few hundred years have people had access to books. There are other ways to learn. I would suggest counseling and/or mentoring. But if you are determined to make headway through reading, try some children’s books. You can read them to actual children, if you like, and learn while you are doing it.
Finally, I want to ask you to forgive your husband. He did not know what he was doing, how deeply he was wounding you when he spoke. He is not God that his words have to control you. Forgiveness does not mean your husband gets away ‘scott free,’ either. If you need to have a conversation with him first, do that, but then trust God to deal with the man for you. That’s called forgiveness, and you may have to keep doing it for a while before it sticks.
I want to repeat what I said at first. Don’t hand your pain to everyone else around you by hurting yourself. Get the help you need. You are loved. You are valuable. It’s still true, even if you don’t believe it. That’s pretty much the definition of trust.