There I was in my mid-20s, alone in the house, on the floor, crying, hurting, feeling hopeless…and then I remembered the gun. The fact I even thought of the gun scared me to death. I knew I had to get out of the house immediately. I called what felt like my one and only local friend and asked her if she wanted to get together for coffee…NOW. She sensed in my voice the urgency and quickly said yes. She saved my life that night.
Over a decade has passed since that horrific night. I still sometimes find myself alone on the floor, crying, hurting and wanting to be done…BUT I am no longer hopeless. Before I crash to the floor in emotional pain seeking to find strength to take another step, I first make sure to grab my Bible to take with me to that well-worn floor. The hopelessness from the first scene is replaced with a medium sized, leather bound, timeless, God-breathed book that renews my hope. When I’m teetering on the edge of the abyss into hopelessness, the pages of the Bible pull me away from plunging over. First, the book itself is a tangible reminder that God is present though I cannot see or feel Him. Second, when I open it, I find words that help me take captive my thoughts, renew my mind, and calm my anxious spirit. The Bible now saves my life.
At first it was a very conscious, unnatural choice to reach for the book on my nightstand, but now it is a habit. I’m spiraling. I grab the Bible. I go to the floor. I cry. I read the Bible. I renew my mind. I get up. I wipe my face. I put on more mascara. And, with renewed strength and renewed hope, I face my current challenge.
I’m not trying to be overly simplistic. I promise. Nevertheless, this small change in my life has enabled me to persevere through much more intense times than I experienced that one horrific night long ago. We all will have pain at one point or another. At one level or another. I don’t really think the pain itself is the issue. The question is will we see God in the midst of our pain or just focus on the pain itself.
I’m not saying don’t reach out to friends. We are meant to live in community. By all means, get outside help and support. But, sometimes it is just you and your choice in that intensely, painful moment. You are the only one who can truly choose life when you are spiraling. No one else can choose it for you at that point. And, so I strongly urge you to make it second nature to grab your Bible before you sink to the floor. The truth it contains and the God it declares can save your life too.
Oh that my request might come to pass,
And that God would grant my longing!
“Would that God were willing to crush me,
That He would loose His hand and cut me off!
“But it is still my consolation,
And I rejoice in unsparing pain,
That I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
I Peter 5:6-11
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.