Guest post by Sharon Hastings
I look down at the small pile of soggy tissues in my lap.
“It just mustn’t have been God’s solution for you, Sharon. He knows what will work.”
My friend tries to catch my eye. I fold my arms across my chest.
“But – but it was working. I felt so much better.”
“You had three seizures!”
“I know. It doesn’t seem fair. How long am I going to have to wait before they find the right drug?”
I had had ten years of repeated hospital admissions, and the trial of clozapine – a powerful antipsychotic used only when alternative treatments have failed – had seemed like my last hope.
When David wrote Psalm 13, he too was suffering from a long and serious illness, and he knew that, if he died, his enemies would overcome his army. He cried out:
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” (v1)
There are many other examples in the Bible of people who had to wait for God to reveal himself in difficult situations. Here are just a few…
Abraham – already an old man – waited 25 years before God gave him his promised son (Genesis 21:2).
Joseph waited through slavery and imprisonment before God made him ruler over Egypt (Genesis 41:41).
Job waited through a series of catastrophes, including the deaths of his livestock and children – and the loss of his health, for God to intervene and bless him twice over (Job 42:10).
Mary and Martha waited until after their brother, Lazarus, had died before Jesus came to restore him to health (John 11:43).
What I find challenging about David’s Psalm is its ending:
“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” (vv5-6)
David hadn’t been healed when he wrote this, yet he still proclaimed that God had been good to him.
I too found that, as I cried out to God, ‘How long…?!” he brought about change within me.
Somehow, I began to acknowledge that God was still sovereign: he knew that I was sick; he was in control of whether I was sick or not; and he had a purpose in my enduring illness.
This purpose was two-sided: in me, he brought about humility and trust – and, through me, he brought about a book which has been a help to others with severe mental illness.
God provided for me a different psychiatrist whose drug suggestions finally seemed to help; I listened to the whole audio-Bible in three months, which changed my view of myself, and of Him; and I discovered that I was pregnant – a huge factor in my conscious adoption of a recovery-focused mindset.
Thirteen years after I was first admitted to hospital with schizoaffective disorder, he led me to a place where I could say I had begun the journey of recovery which continues today.
Being in a place of waiting is so very hard, yet just because he is saying, ‘Wait!’ does not mean that God is inactive in our lives. If you are there right now, check out Psalm 13, ask God to reveal his hand at work, and commit to trusting his timing… because he will always make things beautiful in the end (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
You can get Sharon’s great book here