The very first post I wrote on this blog, “When the road is Darkest”, shows as zero readings, but for me right now it is something I’m coming back to.
There are other posts here that follow similar themes, but none that are as explicit.
I wrote it in Feb 2011, and now – almost 3 years later – I find myself facing many of the same challenges, but with a slightly different perspective.
I’m relying heavily on teachings I heard many years ago, which I’ve practically worn out the original cassettes (yes, that long) from repeated listening.
The teaching centres around Jesus final words to His disciples the night of the Last Supper, as recorded by John in chapters 14-16. But the one thing I’m having to lean on most heavily right now is the first few verses of chapter 14: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” (John 14:1-3)
Basically, Jesus’s message is “Don’t Panic – Believe” (Thanks to Andrew Wommack for that phrase!)
It’s easy to panic as the waters start to swamp the boat. It’s easy to try to hide as Adam did in Eden. It’s easy to try to dig ourselves out by our own strength – even when we know we can’t do it. We see people taking these “easy” options every day. It’s easier to leave your spouse than to wade through the issues that have ravaged your marriage because you kept sweeping them under the mat and pretending they weren’t there. It’s easier to stop talking to your friends than to compromise and repair the relationship. It’s easy to go and find another church because the people in the one you’re in are just “wrong”. At the extreme, people believe it’s “easier” to commit suicide than to go on living in this world.
Every case above is one I’ve faced personally.
It may seem odd to find a Christian writer openly admitting he struggled with suicidal thoughts at one point. It went further than thoughts. Four times I tried to end my life, and four times God helped me through. I’ve still not completely worked out why, but I suspect His unconditional Love for me probably has something to do with it.
And yes, all those attempts happened after I was born-again. It took a second personal encounter with Jesus to get my head clear enough to battle the thoughts that drove me so deep, and it’s a constant one. The war doesn’t stop after a single victorious battle, sadly. I was plagued with the thought processes for years after my last attempt, but in the darkest hours that those thoughts came, I was reminded by Jesus of His Love for me, and His goodness.
It seems incongruous to have a Christian blog comment on such things, but it is a part of my story, of how Christ has helped me in the battle for my life.
But where should we rather be able to comment on this kind of thing? If we can’t talk about the battles we fight in our minds within the Body of Christ, it’s a poor reflection of our ability to be part of that Body. These things get swept into the realm of psychology and out of the consiousness of the church. But Paul writes about the weapons we have being forged specifically for fighting thoughts. Any thought that sets itself up in our mind against the knowledge of the Truth. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6) Paul’s inferrence is crystal clear. The weapons we have are specifically designed to shape our thoughts. To bring our thinking in line with God’s way of thinking.
No matter how dark the hour, no matter how deep the suffering, His Love and Light can shine in and break the hold of the Enemy.
But only if we remember Jesus’s words.
“Let not your heart be troubled”