Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Darkness Within

I often run into Christian people who are experiencing deep darkness and isolation. Isolation beyond description: an oppressive consuming imprisonment of the soul, as if they had been sentenced to solitary confinement in a maximum-security prison.  They find themselves in a 6 x 9 cell, pacing back and forth wondering if anyone will come to release them.  Day and night, they pace, they look for a window, a door, a crack in the wall…anything that would break them free.  Sometimes this goes on for weeks, sometimes for months.  It is as if they are living schizophrenic lives: Imprisoned while going through the motions of life.  To the average onlooker, these folks appear perfectly normal, they laugh when they’re suppose to laugh, they nod when they’re suppose to nod, but inside, this consuming darkness continues to wrench their soul.  Like quicksand, they continue to sink deeper and deeper into this abyss, while maintaining the facade of normalcy.

On the surface these folks present as average Christians, attending Bible study and mouthing a prayer or two. No one around them seems to know that they’ve slipped into a dark hole. They’re smiling and even joking. Yet, internally they find themselves in a dark

A friend encounter with darkness:  I got home to a dark house, everyone was gone. I was alone. Quickly the darkness seemed to be pressing in on me. I began suffocating in the sea of darkness. The darkness was consuming me. Oppressed without a way out.

I start thinking about how good it would feel to get out of this prison.  I searched frantically for a way out.  Then it occurred to me that I have a .45 in the closet. I go to the closet. There it is, the box I keep my .45 in. A sense of excitement enters my blood as I ponder taking this doorway. Expectantly, I open the box. I grab the .45, take the lock off and I start twirling the gun around and around in my hand while passing it from one hand to the other; left to right, right to left.  Hours seem to go by. Suddenly I realize the gun is not loaded.  So, I reach into the box and I load the magazine with 8 bullets. I then loaded the magazine into the .45. I start to think about the freedom I will feel once I pulled the trigger. Once I pull the trigger the darkness is gone, I will be out of this cell.  I put the gun underneath my jaw and I ponder pulling the trigger, then I think, “What if it doesn’t work?”  So I put the gun up to my temple…I’m perspiring.  My hand begins to shake uncontrollably, anxiety is overtaking me, I feel the perspiration, thick drops of sweat are pouring from my pores.  As I put the barrel of the gun to my temple. Just as I am ready to pull the trigger, I hear someone wrestling with the door and it opens.  The light breaks the darkness and my daughter comes running in saying: “Daddy! Daddy! Look what I got?” I quickly tuck the gun back into the box, I smile and I hug my daughter. Somewhat relieved I’m out of my prison. My daughter’s embrace brought me out of solitary confinement.  
God used my daughter at that moment to pull me out of my dark cell. By God’s grace, I realized that I had much to live for. With the help of my wife, I sought the help of a Christian counselor. That day as every day since, God has loved me too much, to let me go through with ending my life. I recognized his love in my daughter’s eyes.  I can still recall that moment as if it were yesterday.  Now, daily I cling to my Savior’s love. The love I experienced in that moment of darkness through my daughter’s eyes.

“The bottom line: Our God specializes in jailbreaks. No matter what type of prison we find ourselves in our God is able to set us free.” Looking back, God had been trying to break me out for years. I just kept refusing his help. Ironically, I asked God for help and then refused his help. I did not want to be a burden so I was slowly dying.”

Key: Take the help and come out of the closet with your depression. Tell your friends, pastor, and seek out a Christian counselor. Do not let the Devil beat you up and drive you to suicide.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1) So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

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