living in such close proximity to death had marked me. I woke up at night, sensing its heavy breathing on the back of my neck. I saw it everywhere I went: its inevitability, its steady, onward march. It will eventually take everyone I love. It will eventually take me. I paced the house. I felt anxious and afraid.
It’s easy to think that God was punishing me. That’s certainly the sort of theology that permeated my childhood. My depression, and the scattering of people from my life were one big judgement. I found a home in the wailing language of the Psalms.
This group of women became the hands and feet of Jesus to me. I realized I didn’t have to try so hard. I didn’t have to strive. There was nothing for me to do because God had already done all the hard work. My life hadn’t been working because I was trying to do what only Jesus could have done.
Even this week, there have been three gangs of marauding machete-wielding men terrorising our neighbourhood. So we padlock our doors and pray more, and more than anything I’m desperate that my kids don’t get freaked out by the guns
I can truly say, then, that God has been vividly present in my pain. Not that he wants us to suffer, either directly or indirectly. Rather, he is present in our suffering, helping to redeem and transform it.
Hearing my son say, “I killed Kevin and his parents” was at first surreal, but it only took a few moments for the realization to set in that his life and that of our family were going to forever change in ways that I could have never imagined. A father’s first instinct is to protect his children. How could I protect Alec in this situation?
Whilst still married, I have fallen in love with another who pursued me for all that he needed before he then rejected me, and abused power and position to save himself.
I have suffered from depression, and I know the madness that has such power that it convinced me that my children would be better off if I was dead.
I didn’t understand. From age 11 through to age 14 and beyond, I didn’t understand how people who claimed to follow the same God as me could have such a radically different view of His purpose and plan. God stood, distant and cold, behind a dark cloud of resentment, anger, and confusion. And I gave up on Him.