Here Neville Southall describes himself in one word as “complicated”. But what of me? I put it to you that I, likewise, am a complicated being! (My wife would endorse that comment straightaway!!) But what I am particularly thinking of here, is the fact that we are constituted in different parts. If I could give my break-down of my being it would be that I am physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. There is that which is related to my physicality, my feelings, my thinking and my consciousness of God. All these aspects are meshed together to form me.
Since the first major nadir of the mental / emotional realm of my being in October 2002 I have never understood how each part of who I am functions together. Can I be spiritually strong whilst being mentally and emotionally weak? There is so much I do not understand.
But let me make some observations:
- Every part of the quartet that makes up our being affects every other part. So if I am physically afflicted by an illness, very likely, every other aspect will be affected.
- However, (1) can only be seen as a general principle, not a universal one. So by way of exception, for example, everything else in our being may be falling apart, but we can be strong in knowing God.
- We can excuse our lack of spiritual vigour because of mental / emotional depression. But this is only excusing our lack of vigour towards God. Rather, we should seek to know God in and through our inner darkness.
- We can so easily blame ourselves for lack of spiritual vigour when, the reality is, that weakness in our soulish (mental and emotional) area has disabled us in the spiritual realm. This happens because when our faculties are limited by weakness in our inner beings then our ability to seek God is diminished.
- (2) and (3) above are inherently contradictory! However,I reckon there are times when both apply. We need to seek to know ourselves so that we are neither too easy nor too heard on ourselves.
- When I am feeling low is it a mental / emotional issue or a spiritual issue? I don’t know so very often.
- The psalms become so real in times of mental/emotional/spiritual difficulty.
- And where does Satan fit in all this? He is ever on the rampage, with his demons, seeking to exploit the Achilles heal in our beings, so that we are knocked off course.
So I am a complicated me. I don’t understand myself. but when I don’t understand I can trust the Lord. When I do not feel I can trust. And I can know, even though I do not fathom myself, the reality of these words:
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deut 33:27a)
And in such a God and in such a provision I will trust and will rejoice.