The Promise of Hope: How Biblical Truths Sustain us in Dark Seasons

P82 Project Restoration

When I first dipped my toes into the world of advocacy, I received numerous invitations to speak at faith based mental health conferences. During one of those talks, I shared several key scriptures that helped me make it through some very dark days. A man sitting on the front row rolled his eyes. I’m not sure what his expectations may have been that day, but I certainly wasn’t hitting his mark by sharing from the bible.

If I’m honest, I can respond in my heart like that man at times. When hardship comes, I can be tempted to think of a hundred ways I can bear down and endure it in my own strength. I can begin to plan and look for solutions before I even have a thought about going to God and his very words. I can spend hours distracting myself on social media or other escape, and in essence, I roll my eyes at the great hope and truth that God graciously holds out for me to grasp for life giving sustenance and strength.

Truths like those found in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” When my son was in the throes of psychosis in the early years, and we faced the sober reality that care for him would be in no way, shape, or form easy, a slow simmer of resentment toward God began to brew in my heart. “Where are you God? Why don’t I feel your presence with me in this? Your word tells me in Psalm 46 that you are very present. But I don’t feel you anywhere near me!,” I would silently and resentfully inquire.

And then I read those words one more time.

God is “a very present help.” Nowhere in this verse does God promise that I would feel his presence. As a Christian, I’m called to live by faith and take God at his word. God was with me because He promised to be so in his word. I wouldn’t know that unless I was spending undistracted time in the bible.

This was a turning point for me during the intense crisis and darkness of my son’s illness. Looking away from myself and to the very words of God and what they tell me about who He is began to give me increased hope and built my faith even as the days grew worse.

The promises and cries of the Psalmist like those in Psalm 119:28, “My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!” brought me great comfort as I was reminded of many others who had suffered before me and how they cried out to God, and he graciously helped them. These words are written for my benefit and yours! And see how the Psalmist asks for strength? According to God’s very promises found in the Bible! “…strengthen
me according to your word!”

I can not only read about a powerful, compassionate, just, merciful King who condescended to me in my sin and need, but because of Jesus, I could grow and become more like him as I clung to him knowing that He was really the one holding onto me, my family and my son who was being battered by schizophrenia.

Where else in the world can we go for hope and help like this?

We can cry out to the universe, think good thoughts, numb the pain with the latest drug of choice, scroll for hours on Instagram stories, and the like, or we can turn to the God who knows us best and his very words that bring life giving hope during the dark seasons of our lives. Even
the dark seasons of serious mental illness.

-Deborah Geesling


Going Deeper:

Listen to my pastor’s recent message from 2 Corinthians 1;8-11, on how God uses afflictions to reveal self-sufficient tendencies and to point us back to him.


Listen to this honest, child like prayer and song. Make it your own.

The Best News Ever:

There’s no greater question that we can ask than “what is the gospel?” Listen to a message from one of our mental health conferences.

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