Two of my most mature Christian friends wrote to me on the same day about their struggles.
Friend No. 1:
"I will not mince words because I want you to pray for me . . . my inner life has been tumultuous. . . . I have experienced dark nights of the soul. . . . It has been a rather undesirable roller coaster fraught with the deepest questions of meaning, worth, etc. Am I hearing Him? Is this what He wants? I feel as though all the lessons I've ever learned have come undone, and I am completely unmoored and backslidden to a former self. I know God knows what He's doing, but this process is terrifying and I am so, so unsteady. His comfort is so elusive and His confidence so spastic-there, and suddenly gone. I am at last so frail and needy of His grace, His sight, some faith, some light."
Friend No. 2:
"I have been struggling lately. I feel the gospel is not 'working' for me. I was reflecting today on how much Christian counseling I have been through over the years and I can't believe how little it has helped. . . . Do you have any thoughts on that? It seems like our problems shouldn't be so, so hard to solve. (And by solve I mean grow in grace in the midst of, not eliminate per se). We aren't promised relief from trials (quite the opposite), but we are promised some pretty huge things to go along with all the suffering and stumbling. Aren't we? Am I crazy?"
If this is how it is with the strong, what will it be with those who don't seek much after God? (Perhaps the latter don't even see their need because it is anesthetized under hobbies or business.)
How would you respond to my friends? What kind of life do you suppose a person would have to live in order to have something helpful to say to these two women?