Lord, I am thankful to you that I have yet to experience anything like the dreaded time of 2010. I still don’t know the reason such a depth of depression came upon me, and you know that I am weary of trying to figure it out.

When I left you for those three days, I have never felt so lost. My life–-you—were taken from me. Along with that, all meaning, hope, and happiness. My faith was gone and along with it any hope for joy. My kids were rocks, my wife was a plant, and all people were, to me, as worthless as a scrap of metal. That is what life is like without you. I understand that now. My best thought is that you were teaching me what it was to be in such darkness. I had never experienced it before. Yes, you know, there were (and are) many times when I think, “Is this all really true?” But such thoughts, until 12:01 pm on that dreaded day, March 15, 2010, were merely fleeting. At least they were fleeting until the crash of my soul. For three days you allowed a coroner’s blanket to be laid over my spirit. I know now that if I were to have died during this time, I would be with you now. I think I even knew it then. Somehow I knew you were responsible. I knew that you were teaching me a lesson. But it will take me many more years to realize the purpose of such things.

Has a child ever woken up to see their parents were dead? That feeling could be said to have shared the land of my darkness, but it still was close to the shore. My darkness was even more hopeless. My cries were even more desperate.

But you rescued me from the despair. You pulled me up out of the mire.

You know how I second guess all things. I often have to pray for forgiveness for my own skepticism. I often resemble those deists who say you are uninvolved more than I do my confession which says you will never leave me or forsake me. I admit, I have felt forsaken many times before. But what do you expect? Did you not create our ability to experience life? Is that not a reality from which we saturate our mind with knowledge and truth. If I experience getting into my car and driving to my mom’s, is the experience not enough to permit belief that I did follow such a path? You are the God of history, not just the God of the Bible. You move in our lives and we are to attempt to perceive it. Yet you don’t talk, ring door bells, or knock books off the table, or send deer when we want to see them, or heal upon our calls, or show even your shadow across the wall. I have to rely upon the experience of others. Is this enough? Yes, it is enough to believe, and you know I do believe. However, oh God of history and experience, I would like you to show up in a way that crosses that breach that those dreaded angels proclaimed when they said “this Jesus has been taken from you.”

But you did show up. You showed up when my faith was taken from me with no warning. It was a dramatic entrance and a confusing entrance. However, you showed up again when my faith returned three days later. I have no ability to explain this other than that you cross that experiential divide. It was a miracle. Have some doctor show me that it was not. Have an explanation that it was some medical or chemical problem in my body and I would be relieved. I would be relieved mostly because I would be able to explain it and control it. I would set up precautions so that it could never happen again. That dreaded doubt. That dreaded unbelief. Make it far from me for you know it was not the desire of my heart. But it was a miracle. It was one of two miracles in my life. The first was when you miraculously had me find my sister before she killed herself. I don’t know why you did not send me the night—oh dark night–that she finished her work. Yet, it was a miracle. The day you took my faith and the day you gave it back was the day that I said to myself “The Lord has shown up again, yet, again, in a very odd way.”

But from that dark day, I learned something by experience that was but mere doctrinal confession before. I learned that faith is something that you give. You alone Lord control the will. You alone can break through the heart of unbelief. Oh how I wanted to believe those three days. I begged for you to give me my faith back. I wept in fear. I wept in confusion. I wept as I was lost in a meaningless void. I do understand. You are the one who gives faith. I went through all the logic and evidence for your reality. It all made sense, but I just could not believe. I suppose that you were giving me a sight of what those who are in darkness see. I suppose that you were showing me that the will of man cannot open the door of belief. We can get to that door, we can know that we need in, but we don’t have the power to open it.

Thank you for opening it for me again on March 13, 2010. Please don’t ever close it again. Please, please don’t leave your children who are in despair outside crying. Your love is greater than mine. Your purpose is greater than mind. But that darkness is too dark. Please let me help your children who cry in darkness.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

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