So, I wrote a whole long essay on helping people in dark times. This is a little of it. It’s thoughts on helping people through the sticky times when life seems too bleak to believe in any kind of God. Or when your head is so messed up that truth, rational thought and sanity go out the window. The dark times affect your ability to believe anything, whether it is the love of a friend or the reality of God, there is no rationality in these times. This is different from hardened unbelief, from rebellion and rejection of God, this is the blanket of fog that covers everything in life with gloom. I experience mild forms of these times and we need to get better at talking about them, and at helping people through them. Having people who will believe the truth for you, and not just tell you to do something you think you can’t are very important in such times.
“There is the world of difference in telling someone to believe the truth and speaking truth into their lives. They don’t have to believe it, because if it’s true it’s not dependent on their belief in it. Brilliant. Tell them that. Tell them you’ll believe it for them when they can’t. That’s community. That’s the body of Christ in action. Stop telling them to believe. That’s just what they feel they can’t do. Their failure to see the truth leads to them feeling condemned and guilty for rejecting such beauty. But tell them the truth and tell them that you’ll believe it for them today. That lets a sliver of light into the darkness. That lets truth in the back door. Somedays I can’t believe and so I go to church and let others believe for me. This is the deepest kind of grace. The body in action. Family together. Something that is true and not dependent on my getting it or believing it today.
Remind them that they are safe in Jesus. Their faith does not depend on them but on the One who holds them and will not let go. This is the bottom deep reality of grace. This is grace for the times my head is so messed up that I can’t believe anything. This is grace that holds and does not let go because I am his child and he will not leave. This is the deepest grace I can think of.
“Your foundations in life may be gone, everything you built on may be crashing down and you yourself going down into the abyss. But, no; underneath – and they are always there – underneath are the everlasting arms. They are always holding you; you will never finally crash; you will be held when everything else is gone” – Martyn Lloyd Jones
And the brilliant thing is: that is true even when you don’t believe it.”