WHI-1214 | Darkness Is My Only Companion

Sunday, 13 Jul 2014

How do we counsel those that suffer? How do we extol the good God of Scripture who allows his people to have such dark times? How should Christians respond when they themselves go through dark nights of the soul? How do we praise God in the midst of such continual suffering? This week on the White Horse Inn our host and guests discuss these critical questions as it relates to mental illness and the role of ministers as physicians of the soul. Dr. Michael Horton converses with special guests Kathryn Greene-McCreight, author of Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness, and Harold Senkbeil, author of Where in the World is God? Join the conversation as they discuss important questions like…. “Why does God allow us to suffer? How is the soul affected by the diseases of the mind? Do you think we need to make a better distinction between the thing itself being bad and God working it together for good, instead of just thinking that everything that God sends our way and allows to come our way is itself good, it’s really that he turns even the evil and suffering and pain into something good?”

“There is something about God holding even our sorrows close to him, in his own vessels, and that vessel for the Christian is, of course, Christ. Our tears are in a sense not our own, that is what I meant by the Christian participating in the cross of Christ. I think we have to speak very carefully about that though, because the last thing you want to do is be encouraging Christian suffering. I don’t think that suffering for the sake of suffering is God’s will for anybody. I think that’s clear in Scripture. It’s only in so far as it can be redemptive. It is never redemptive while it’s going on. It’s always something that needs to be relieved.
“The fact that God allows evil is a mystery, but if you believe in a God that is all-powerful, a God who provides for us, who loves us unconditionally… then we have to say that God allows suffering.”
– Kathryn Greene-McCreight
Depression-Anxiety and the Psalms
“The Psalms treat depression more realistically than many of today’s popular books on Christianity and psychology. David and other psalmists often found themselves deeply depressed for various reasons. They did not, however, apologize for what they were feeling, nor did they confess it as sin. It was a legitimate part of their relationship with God. They interacted with Him through the context of their depression.”
(From Steve and Robyn Bloem, Broken Minds: Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You’re Losing It [Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2005], 204)
“Through the psalms God allows us as his children to scream out our most agonizing questions in his presence: ‘Why, O Lord?’ ‘How long, O Lord?’ ‘O Lord, where is your former great love?’ Such language is not off limits in prayer, but is welcomed by a Father who, somewhere in his mysterious love, has a place for suffering. The psalms help us get through those dark valleys of perplexity where God cannot be seen and his ways cannot be understood.
“Then God graciously gives the eye of faith to penetrate the darkness of the cross in the light of the resurrection. Faith enables us to be certain of what we cannot see (Heb. 11:1). As the eye of faith peers up into heaven, it gazes upon him who is now crowned with glory because he suffered. It views the nail-scarred hands of him who ‘suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example, that [we] should follow in his steps’ (1 Pet. 2:21). It sees him saying, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Matt. 16:24).”
(From Mark D. Futato, “Suffering as the Path to Glory: The Book of Psalms Speaks Today,” Modern Reformation March/April 1999 Vol. 8 No. 2)

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