"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15. If you look at the structure of this sentence, it is an imperative sentence. An imperative sentence gives a command. What's the command? You go. That's right! You go into all of the world preaching MY gospel! So, why do so many of us view this verse as a suggestion? Why do we think that it's okay to say "I'm willing to go if You call me, but I'll stay here until You do." God has already called us to go!!! But so many of us are ignoring that call! Why do we think we need some special calling to be a missionary when God has already called you in Mark 16:15??? Maybe you're not called to be an oversees missionary like me, but you are most certainly called to be a missionary where ever you live. I know, it's easy to say things like that but not so easy to do it.... trust me, I'm as guilty as anyone... but, I don't want to stand before an all righteous God knowing that I could/should have told thousands of more people about Him but didn't. I will be responsible for their souls! Ouch... that's hard! So, you may want to win souls, but aren't sure how or are to shy. Well, I've got the answer for you!!! First, pray! Pray that God will give you opportunities to tell others about Him and that He will give you strength to tell people when the time comes. Second? Go. Just Go. You will never regret telling someone about the Gospel of our beautiful Savior. Give them the same hope that we have. Third? Live radically in the transformation of His love. He saved you for a purpose.... live like it :)
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Time stood still. Minutes seemed like hours as the panic rushed in while I read the text that my friend sent me. She told me that she was going to commit suicide. I was states away from her and had no way to stop her from doing what she was proposing. I said a quick prayer asking the Lord for much needed wisdom and called her cell phone. When she answered, I could only hear a sobbing hiccup of a “hello.” I remember begging her not to commit suicide and telling her that there was hope.
“You don't know what's it's like, Emmy! You have no clue!” She sobbed.
Oh, but I did. I knew exactly where she was... only all too well. Memory after memory came flooding back as I reminisced how often I had wanted to kill myself as well. Times when I had thought that there was no hope. Times when I was so lonely or hurt that death seemed the much better option. Oh yes. I knew how she felt. But I also knew now that there was always hope. There was always a better way than suicide, and that's what I began to share with her. I soon had to return to work, and was reluctant to hang up the phone. After extracting a promise from her to not kill herself, I went into work and pored over what had just happened. The whole incident brought up memories that were still too fresh to not hurt. Memories that I had tried to bury but were still right there. It was then that I realized that my own experiences had not been in vain. That God had used those experiences in my life to help me save someone else's life. So, here's my story, and the beautiful hope that comes along with it.
When I was in grade school, my parents were having one of their fights again. As always, I was the child that took the brunt of the blame. We children were sent to our rooms so that we wouldn't hear them fighting, but nothing could block out those voices. Accusation after accusation against me was yelled downstairs. At one point they even said that I was the reason for all of their fights and marital problems. I tried my best to block out the words but never managed to do so. I asked my sister if Mom and Dad were going to get a divorce because of me. She held me tight as she told me that, that would never happen. I sat there in my room listening to them fight and wished right then that I could swallow a bottle of 409 so that they wouldn't have to deal with me anymore. The only thing that kept me from doing it is that I thought it might hurt and not actually kill me. That's when the first thoughts of suicide came.
All throughout junior high and high school, I was suicidal. I would never admit my intentions to anyone, but suicide was always at the front of my mind. After constantly being told how ugly, fat, and stupid I was, I just assumed that no one loved me and that I wasn't good enough for anything. For years, I endured emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical abuse. I would sit at my desk and just think of what would happen if I took my life. Suicide was my day dream. I dreamt that if I killed myself, then, maybe my parents would realize what a great kid I actually was. I did everything I could to please them, but it was never enough. Being as I had no real friends, I was so overwhelmingly lonely. I would day dream about people wishing that they had taken the time to get to know me better when I was still alive. Then they would see what a great person I was, right? I would day dream about how much it would hurt people if I killed myself. I wanted to hurt them. They hurt me, so it was only fair that I did something so much worse to hurt them. I wanted to just have an escape from the pain. I thought suicide was my only escape. I could find none other. If I died, I wouldn't have to deal with the overwhelming pain. The feelings of inadequacy would never bother me again. I would never be told that I wasn't good enough again. Joy filled my heart as I thought of that. Suicide brought me joy, but it also brought me misery. Honestly? I didn't want to die. I wanted to get married and have children, but I also knew that it could never happen. I tried so many times to start to commit suicide, but something always stopped me. Something always got in the way of my actually carrying through with my plan.
It was in this deep, dark mire that Jesus reached and gave me everlasting hope. I had been a Christian for quite some time, but had never really lived like it. That didn't matter to Jesus. He came right where I was and held out His open hand. With a lot of hesitancy, I took His hand and was pulled out of my pit of suicide and depression. I now can say that without Jesus I would not be alive today. He showed me that there is always hope. That HE is my escape. When the yelling and emotional abuse started, He gave me the strength to get through it. He told me that He had better plans for me than suicide, and that He wasn't finished with me yet. When I could escape the fights, I would run to my room, plug in my headphones, read my Bible, and just weep. But in those times, I felt Jesus more so than ever before. He was right there beside me, lifting me up, and comforting me. When the emotional abuse would sometimes turn into physical abuse, and I thought that I just couldn't take it anymore, He was right there beside me at every step. I know some of you may think that I'm crazy, but I promise you, that He never let me go. He became my best, best friend. I love how David puts it in Psalms. In Psalm 69, David beseeches God to save him from the mire and the pit. Then in Psalm 70 verses 5, 14, and 16 we can see that David saw that his hope was in the Lord: “For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth. But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” Praise the Lord that He is our hope and salvation!
Now, as a young adult, I sometimes still struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide. I still wish to end my life instead of putting up with the pain, but let me tell you something. Suicide would be the most selfish thing that I could do. Suicide only thinks about me, me, me, and me. Why I'm unhappy. Why I'm hurt. Why I shouldn't be here. How I think that other's should treat me. I find that in those times when I am depressed, I need to check my focus. What am I focusing on in those times? I can guarantee you that when I'm depressed and suicidal, that my thoughts are always on me and my problems. Instead, my thoughts need to be on Jesus and His works. During those times, you'll find me breaking out into a praise song in the middle of the crowd. I may be singing way off key, but I'm praising my Lord and remembering all that He has done for me. I will walk around and purposely look for things to thank the Lord for that I've never thanked Him for before. I'll thank Him for the road and the people who built the it, or for person who just smiled at me. Only then, will I find myself rising above my struggles, and find the blessed hope that Jesus has given me. The hope for living.We can again find examples of this in the Psalms as David, in his darkest hours, praises the Lord Almighty for His wondrous works!
My friend, if you are considering suicide, there is hope! I've been right where you are. I know your pain. I know your hurt. I know your loneliness, but I promise you that there is hope. There is a way out. Jesus has promised us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that He will not bring anything into our lives that is more then we can take. There is always hope. I know that right now, all you can see is the darkness of your struggle, but look up my friend! Start praising the Lord. I promise you that if you do, your life will change radically in the way you view it. If you don't know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, He is standing right there with you in that pit with an outstretched hand, just waiting for you to take it. There is an end to your struggle and there is hope. Let Jesus show you what it is. If you have questions about Jesus and the hope He brings, please email me at thereisalwayshopewithHim@gmail.com and I would be happy to show you the truth of His love. May God bless you!