With cancer and more so the depression that followed interferon therapy, my faith took a beating. In a good way. Some bad things have been beaten loose, detached from my soul, and I am grateful for the pounding I received at God's behest. I needed it.
The line between legalism and grace has always been profoundly difficult for me to understand. To what extent can we truly "rest in God" when "the devil prowls like a hungry lion"? When the threat of sin and all that pertains hovers ever near, how much joy can there be in knowing and savoring Jesus and all He means to me? I found a lot of dissatisfaction with the answers I read and received, even, from well-meaning fellow believers.
At times, I thought I was losing my faith. At times, I thought I was losing my mind, my soul, my all. But what I've been losing in all this time is fear. I have found, through this hard period, that God is yet there with me, as He has been every second of the journey thus far (even when I hated Him, which is amazing to me!). Has nothing to do with merit or dessert; it never does, it never did. It has to do with love, grace, and mercy, and He holds nothing back.
I am, for the first time, experiencing real joy in my faith. Not the sporadic happiness that comes in the early phases of a newly christened faith; this is quiet, enduring, peaceful. A fault line in my faith has shaken me to the core, and the resulting earthquake knocked down all I didn't need.
How all this plays out theologically, I don't know. I don't think my theology per se is any different, but maybe it is. What has changed is my experience of God in the odd moments of my life; rather than an ancient judge sitting atop a throne, marking my every move, I am finding a Spirit of kindness, tenderness, mercy. Everything I don't deserve, yet everything I long for in the depths of my soul, painfully so at times. There is no word, no phrase for how sweet this is. That it comes on the heels of depression's vicious hold on me, all the sweeter. Morning has broken.