About 10 years ago I did a bible study on Job. Quite simply put, I would have rather been anywhere else at the time. It sounded boring.
Satan asks to test a man, God says ok, man get utterly destroyed but is still alive. Wait a minute…. Suddenly this boring old book of the bible began to take on an amazing relevance to me. My life was in complete shambles as well. And while I wasn’t exactly cursing God, I sure felt like dying.
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” -Job 2:9
At this point in life I had tried to die. More times then I can count on one hand. Yet each time I truly tried to take my own life, someone always intervened at just the wrong/right time. Needless to say I was hooked by the start of chapter 3 when Job curses the day he was born. This was a man I understood, this was the first bible story that made sense to me as an adult, as a sufferer of mental health, as a daily warrior against the things in my head that threatened to pull me under.
The story moves on, like a play. Job wallows in self-pity, his wife leaves, his friends blame him for his situation, and it just gets worse. Sounds all to familiar to me. Despondent, wallowing in self-pity and depression, and people around me telling me its my fault this is happening to me, like I can control it.
“Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished?
Where were the upright ever destroyed? -Job 4:7
I feel for Job. I to had lost partners, friends, self-respect over the last few years. To say I was at a low point in life would be an understatement. To make it even worse, the church family seemed to blame me and blame my mother for the difficulties I faced. Not only was I suffering, she was being persecuted by the very people you would think would be first in line to offer support.
Thankfully my mother was strong in conviction, and faithful in the Lord who told her she was doing the right thing in helping me, in supporting me, because it was exactly what I needed. Like God, my mother never wavered in her faith in me.
Like Job, I still had yet to curse God, I still had faith that He would use all this blackness for His kingdom. I had faith. A faith that was beginning to burn brighter, strengthening me.
“So how can you console me with your nonsense?
Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!” -Job 21:34
In the end, God restores everything and more to Job, and Job gets to tell his friends off about how ignorant they were in their treatment of him. It’s a pretty fitting end, one many who suffer from bipolar or mental illness would like to do. Sadly, this day never actually materialised for me. But I did get something much better: A wonderful life.
It was the book of Job that reignited my passion for God. I spent 10 years in trials, running from God, running from my bipolar, from the depression that threatened to literally consume me. I ran until God caught me, and held me, and told me He still loved me, that I was still His child.