I was asked the questions “do the questions ever get answered? Is there a resolution to these problems?”
And, the answer is yes. The questions do get answered, and there is a resolution. But, the answer depends on you.
So often, we look at the characters in the Bible and apply a high level of spirituality to them. We romanticize their stories and gloss over their pain because we know how their stories will end. But, here is what we forget.
They are real people with real emotions.
Whether or not you chose to believe the words in the Bible, these characters do exist. They live amongst us. They sit next to us. They ride the bus with us. And, they share a cubicle with us.
Peninnah is your sister wrestling with depression. Hannah is your best friend suffering in silence through her pain. The children are your students, neighbors, patients trying to get by as best as they can. Elkanah is your bowling, spades, drinking buddy masking his insecurities.
These characters aren’t “once upon a time in a land far far away…” They are right here, right now wrestling with deep seeded traumas that are manifesting in many different forms of mental illness. These characters are me.
Heartbreak, disappointment, and rejection have brought out the worse in them. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, OCD has reared its ugly head. And, because they go untreated as “an attitude” or “irrational” or “emotional” or “crazy” or “less than a man” they lead to more dire and detrimental consequences.
The question is not whether or not I will provide a solution. The question is will you take the time to notice and acknowledge the pain of another and together find a solution?
Will you take the time to empathize and walk with them through their journey of healing? Or, will you laugh at their pain because the thought of their situation is beneath you?
Mental illness is real. And, even those you least expect struggle everyday. So, continue to read the passages. Put yourself in the character’s shoes. See things from their perspective. And, offer a possible way out that is more than simply telling someone to pray or have faith.
Listen to them.
Or, simply sit with them in silence because sometimes, the best medicine (for the moment) is a physical presence and a closed mouth.
Remember, believers struggle too.