“I’ve got to hope that somehow all this misery will be redeemed, but hope’s hard sometimes particularly when you’re in pain. It’s hard when you’re enduring Good Friday to imagine the dawning of Easter day.”
Susan Howatch: “A Question of Integrity”
Warner Books 1998 ISBN 0 7515 2280 5
When I was very ill with depression and anxiety people with undoubtedly good intentions sometimes told me that when I was better I’d be able to help others who were also depressed.
If you yourself have personal experience of depression you will know that such a statement actually provides no consolation or encouragement at all. When you’re down in that dark and ugly place you really don’t care about anything except how to get out of it and into some sort of normality.
Others can take this statement a step further so that it becomes something that sounds like “God is allowing this to happen to you so that you will be able to help others”.
I certainly don’t believe the latter statement. I don’t believe that the God of love revealed in scriptures and in Jesus, the Incarnate Word, willingly causes us any suffering.
What I do believe is that God can and does redeem the most dreadful of circumstances and experiences so that out of suffering can come amazing signs of hope, life, courage and love.
In writing “Angels in the Wilderness” I have sought to share something of my struggle with faith. For me, this is how my experience is redeemed by the God who makes a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
From the back cover of Angels in the Wilderness:
St. Mark’s Gospel says that when Jesus had spent forty days in the wilderness, the angels came and ministered to him. This book hopes to be an angel, ministering to people who are wandering in the wilderness of depression.
Katharine Smith has suffered from depression herself, so she writes with honesty about the wilderness experience. And that means that the hope she offers to those who are still trapped is born out of reality, not illusion. She holds out the promise that the ministering angels are there, however little their presence or comfort can be felt in the middle of desperate depression.
Through a profound and insightful engagement with the Jesus of Mark’s Gospel, the book shows that God longs to reach out in compassionate sympathy and healing love to those in need. God does not despise or condemn but waits and works patiently to bring us out of our wilderness and minister to us.
Those who suffer from depression will recognise someone who has walked in the wilderness and survived. There is also wise counsel for those who live with or love someone ill with depression. This is a book that casts out fear, because it is brave and loving. It is a ministering angel in printed form.