I had mental illness for more than fifteen years. It was suffering. A long suffering.
One such suffering that I still get is akathisia. During such an episode, I would get uneasy, anxious and restless. The subjective distress was great; I would get distressed by miniscule things that normally would not be threatening.
Oh yeah, I tried to be 'positive'. I tried praying to God for an instant relief. But it was just too painful, mentally *painful*. I always came out the other side unscathed and that was good. But do I really have to suffer again and again for an ailment that just won't go away?
I cried to God: God why won't you help me? Do you really exist? If so, why won't you help me now? I read in the bible and saw in biblical movies, how jesus saved the paralysed, demon-possessed /instantly/! When peter walked on water towards jesus but looked at the waves and started falling into water, jesus said "Peter, you of little faith, why did you doubt?" and he immediately pulled him out of water. So if jesus is real, why won't he help me NOW?
This was a puzzle that took a while for me to solve. When I pondered the immensity of the universe and how small I was, I could not deny the existence of the supreme being. Then it hit me. Maybe God is always helping but I was blind to it.
An epiphany. Maybe there is a time delay between God helping me and me realizing His influence? Maybe this is because of a boundary between myself and God? A boundary that is bulit into nature and I have no control over. When I'm suffering from an episode of akathisia and God IS helping me, I am blind to his influence because of the aforementioned built-in boundary. I am blind to it until I get out of the hole (ie. the episode of akathisia stops).
Because of this natural reality, God is helping but not before I end up feeling like He is not there. I am blind to His influence until situation improves and I can cognitively sense that the situation has improved.
So this is encouraging. My inner doubts about His power doesn't mean He is impotent. It might simply be that I am blind and I can't see Him. Even though I do suffer greatly during every episode of akathisia, there is a logical assurance that I am not abandoned by God.
In this case, the end does justify the means. I have always recovered from an episode of akathisia (it usually lasts for several hours before subsiding). The end is the recovery and the means is anything that will help me get through it with minimal amount of mental pain. Maybe God has not abandoned me and He has always helped me to get out the other side unscathed.
And even though I keep getting akathisia and I had it for many years, I can say to myself "God IS helping; it's just that I'm blind to it".
Isaiah 40:31 says "but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint".
The verse clearly advises us to 'wait on the Lord'. And that if I persevere He will 'renew my strength'. So this supports my thinking that after a period of blindness I will eventually find God, and God will 'renew' or 'heal' me of akathisia.
Luke 17:21 says 'the kingdom of God is within you'. This is an antithesis of the boundary between God and myself. God will not only renew my strength but He is already within me. Boundary between God and myself doesn't mean He will not reach down for me. How wonderful is that!
The ACIM says "The gift of God to you is limitless. There is no circumstance it cannot answer, and no problem which is not resolved within its gracious light". God does not help in just a few cases and not others. He is effective in all of our troubles.
During adversity, we should wait on the Lord and see through to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Why do we have adversities and trials? Do they have a purpose? Indeed they do.
Romans 5:4 says "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope". Hope here hints at "hope of salvation". So we know that building of character through trials brings us closer to God.
Humanity have fallen ever since the first sin entered the world in the garden of Eden. This 'will' has divided us from God. Then there must be an 'anti-will' that reunites us back to God. From what we have discussed, this anti-will is the willingness for us to face adversity with hope of salvation.
Adversity followed by perseverance, followed by overcoming is the rhythm of life. This rhythm, when trodden, not only builds our character, but also brings us closer to God.
In conclusion, my epiphany during my trials of experiencing akathisia is that God has not abandoned me even when I feel isolated; and when I get out to the light at the other side, I am closer to God than ever before. And when I realize God's influence in my life, I know that some day I will have akathisia no more.
-- Logan Won-Ki Lee
31 December 2021