I hate it when life doesn’t make sense.
My life seems pretty reasonable most of the time. Sure, there are moments when I feel a little discouraged. But if I have a cup of tea and devote half an hour to a good novel or video game, I usually recover my cheerfulness and sense of humor.
Then there are times of darkness. Times when I’m suffocated by anxiety. Times when I’m too depressed to do anything but breathe. Times when the world seems broken, twisted and corrupted beyond all hope of redemption, recovery and repair. Times when life just doesn’t make sense.
Times of darkness are sometimes called Nights of the Soul. I personally don’t mind nights. If I’m depressed at night, I can go to bed and awake to a new day. When I was younger, however, I couldn’t stand Thursday afternoons. I was usually tired and discouraged on Thursday afternoons, when the week’s work had worn me out and the weekend seemed far away.
Although I’ve never had a Night of the Soul, I once suffered a horrible period of depression that lasted about a year and a half.
I call it my long, dark Thursday Afternoon of the Soul.
The worst thing about my Thursday Afternoon of the Soul was that nothing seemed to make sense. All I had to sustain me through anxiety and despair were a few dim memories of happier times. People around me were joyful and I couldn’t understand why. People around me were passionate about Jesus, and I was at a loss to understand how they could be so dashed cheerful about a God who seemed so far away and a faith that seemed so impossibly hard. Although I felt utterly unmotivated, I tried to justify myself by serving God in various ways—and failed. I failed over and over and over. And since it didn’t seem right to blame God for bad things, I blamed myself.
To wit, my Thursday Afternoon of the Soul was deuced awful.
(I was tempted to use much stronger language than deuced, but decided against it because my parents will probably read this post.)
I’m so thankful to God for bringing my Thursday Afternoon of the Soul to an end. I don’t know why he put me through it, but I know he had a good reason.
Is that naïve? Is it foolish to look for hope and meaning in circumstances that seem hopeless and meaningless?
I don’t think so.
The answer is a little on the longish side, so it will have to wait until the next post.