Crucified with Christ

My husband, the Biblical scholar, told me that I hate God.

I didn’t want to believe him, but the evidence was quite clear:

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of the evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.  Luke 6:45

My words, from the abundance of my heart, had been hateful.  Worry and despair had filled its chambers, leaving little room for hope or gratitude.  I tried to hope.  I prayed, asking for peace, for joy, and for the ability to trust.  I went to Bible study every Tuesday, seeking for solace, for something to slow the panicked rhythm of my heart.  My pastor handed out little prayer cards with a picture of Jesus on the front.  One of the lines of the prayer is, “Thank you for my life.”  I do not pray that line.  I am thankful that I am alive and healthy so that I can take care of my family, but there are many days when depression and anxiety make me wish I had never been born.

prayercard

I may not have said, “I hate God,”  but I have certainly said “I hate myself,” and I also have said, “I wish I were dead.” I have effectively said that I hate what God has made and what He has given me.  And when my rage boils over, I can find hateful words for my family as well.  I cannot be filled with such anger and loathing and think that I don’t hate God, my Creator and the One who sustains my very existence.

Of course, I have always known that I am a sinner.  I could even, if hard pressed, say that I am an “enemy of God.”

 While we were still sinners, Christ died for us…. Romans 5:8

For if, when we were God’s enemies……Romans 5:10

It’s just easier to think of these things in the abstract, especially come Good Friday.  Come Good Friday, it’s okay to think of myself as one of the women looking on.  I especially love Mary Magdalene.  Her Lord had saved her from seven demons, and now she is watching, heartbroken, as He dies for her sins.   If not Mary Magdalene,then perhaps one of the disciples.  The disciples fall asleep when they should stay awake, they desert Jesus when they should stick by his side, and deny Him after claiming to be brave.  The disciples are sinful, and Jesus dies for them too.  Yet, somehow their failings seem understandable from my human point of view.  At least they weren’t part of the angry mob, the ones who rage against God, crying “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!”  But this is exactly where I find myself.  I find myself bloodthirsty and hateful, calling out for the death of God, wishing that I didn’t exist and that He didn’t either.

How can I live with myself, knowing this is where I belong in the story?  How can I come to God in prayer after thirsting for His blood?  My husband tells me that it all for a purpose, not that it is okay, but that it is for a purpose.  But what purpose could be served by my bloodthirsty rage?

I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  Galatians 2:20

I don’t have to wish I were dead!  My sinful self with all its worry and despair has already been put to death.  I do not consider myself to be suicidal, but as someone who has at least entertained thoughts of my own death, I find this so comforting.*  When I cry out for the death of God, I also cry out for the death of my own wretchedness, and God, in His mercy, delivers me!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

My worry, my despair, my rage, have all passed away.  It will not be realized in full on this side of heaven, but even here on earth, I am a new creation.

And what of my bloodthirsty cry?  God uses that too.  He gives me the gift of His body and blood, and every time I eat and drink, I know the promise of sins forgiven.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks My blood remains in me, and I in them.  John 6:56

My sins are great.  My mental health is a contributing factor, but it is not an excuse.  I decide to confess.  Private confession is not a common practice at my church, but it is offered, and so I go.  I hear that I am forgiven, and I hear that I am not alone.  I decide I need to write so that perhaps someone else will know she is not alone either.

The days here on earth will always have darkness.  As long as we are here, we will always have one foot in Good Friday.  But we also have a claim on Easter Sunday.  Jesus has already risen.  We cry for His death, but He gives us new life.  We are in Him, and He is in us, and He will help us get through this Good Friday world.   We are already a new creation.  And when we get to heaven, it will always be Easter Sunday.  Our cries will not be of rage and despair, but of love and praise for the One who created and redeemed us, and we will celebrate the new creation in full.

eastertable

*Disclaimer:  I am not a mental health professional. I wrote that I did not want others to feel alone.  I also wrote that I do not consider myself suicidal.  If you do feel alone, and if you do feel suicidal, please get help.  Please call your therapist, or your doctor, or a friend, or your pastor, or a crisis hotline.  If need be, go to the emergency room.  You are not alone, and I hope my words give you hope.

 

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  1. Pingback: Killing God – John David Duke Jr

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