There are a zillion books out there and a zillion stories and sermons for comforting Christians. They all tell us about how so-and-so endured hardship and affliction because he had Christ as his bedrock. They tell us cute little, clever little things like, "Would it be worth 50 years in suffering for the Light at the end of the tunnel, that is Jesus Christ?"
Here is what I hear very, very little of: What do you do when Christ, Himself, is ripped away from you? How do you survive then? All of those romantic little stories look pretty meaningless now, don't they? Oh, I know it only too well. I would not wish the hell of being blinded to Christ and cut off from Him on anybody, even my worst enemy. It truly is hell on earth. Yes, I imagine I would be able to suffer better, knowing that my future is glory with Christ. I imagine that I would be able to withstand just about anything, it seems, if Christ was my bedrock. Now, imagine that... and then strip Christ away. No matter how badly you desire Him, He is removed from your sight completely. Any attempt to have Him back is smitten with utter confusion and darkness and chaos. You cannot have Him. You cannot.
Now how do you feel? Welcome to my world. In time this storm will pass. I will have moments of peace, and I will taste of Christ, perhaps, but the majority of it is spent here, in hell, or in a dull, numb world where I can only exist with some semblance of functional normalcy by passing by prayer, passing by the Scriptures, or passing by thinking on spiritual things entirely. It is a world of pretend -of forced smiles and forced living. If you think you have the answer, if you think you know the problem, you don't, but I'm glad you are naive enough to think you have it figured out. Try living with it.
If you are one of those who thinks they know the answer or the problem, then I truly envy you. I know I am wicked to envy you, but I do. For, to you the gospel and Christianity must seem so simple and clear. It must be so... nice to have it be so. The times when it has been simple and clear like that have been few and fleeting, but I have had them in small tastes. I envy those for whom something like John 3:16 suffices and needs no explanation. I can't work, I can't do anything, nor do I want to, but I must. I am in a prison, a prison in my own mind. It has been about seven years so far. I wonder how many more?