The Missing Peace

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It’s a touchy subject, and I’d rather go around it than make it a topic of discussion here, but I am deeply convicted that the redemptive moment at a time like this is worth treading on fragile ground. So in light of the recent news we’ve all heard on the suicides of several famous and adored people, I want to share a revelation that has startled me beyond the borders of mere sympathy.

First I want to empathize with the deep pain and torment people who even consider suicide must wrestle with. I have battled the depths of that anguish in my own life, and I’ve walked intimately beside others who have, as well. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s so painful that I can understand, on a human level, why the escape of death seems like a viable option.

The problem (or one of the problems) that presents itself in the face that option, however, is that I’ve been awakened to the reality that I am – we are – more than merely human. We are body, soul, and spirit, and so – while the human part of us longs for escape – the spirit part of us longs for life….although a better life, to be sure. And that life can only come from one place: the Spirit of God.

Because I’ve been the victim of deep depression and despair, I understand that there can be many causes to such a condition. In my case, I suffered from several: genetic inheritance, postpartum hormones, and major life trauma. Sometimes there are spiritual issues involved, sometimes biological, and sometimes a combination of several components. It is difficult to get to the bottom of the cause for such darkness, and some people never do reach the end of the trail in their search for relief.

However, because I’ve been healed of depression and despair, I also understand that recovery from such a condition is a journey, and because it’s a journey, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. Some will require medicine for chemical imbalances beyond their ability to change. Some will require counseling and deep inner healing from trauma that doesn’t want to lose its grip on the memory. Some will require spiritual interventions for areas that the enemy has taken hold of in order to torment the mind. But no matter what the journey looks like for each person, I believe there is a missing peace available to all of us. And I believe there is a deep lie hidden in the promise of “escape” that needs to be exposed, in order that we might be compelled to seek the missing peace. Of course my pun on the word “peace” is intentional, and will soon be explained.

When I was delivered from depression, which at the time was incapacitating, I experienced a miracle. As I was lying in my bed, literally unable to get up because the weight of depression was so heavy upon me, God visited me. He came, not just in presence, but with a Word of promise. He told me to get up (in effect, to get out from under the weight and power of depression), and when I told Him I couldn’t, He spoke a verse to me: John 7:38. In that moment, depression lost its power, and I literally jumped out of the bed and grabbed my Bible to look up the verse. It read:

“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”

The very next verse told me what He meant by it- that He was speaking of the Holy Spirit coming to dwell within mankind.

I found myself in a bit of a predicament, because I was a believer in Jesus at the time. But there were no rivers flowing out of my belly. Rivers speak of life – of healing, transforming power. Quite the opposite, in fact, I was trapped in death and darkness. But God did not intend to leave me that way. And that day, after He spoke that verse to me, I saw a vision of myself stepping into the flow of water that gradually got deeper and deeper – a river that began as a stream, but soon became an overwhelming flood of the purest, cleanest water I had ever seen. And I walked in it until I became immersed in it.

I walked away from that encounter free from depression. I believed God, and I knew He had come to set me free. Since that day, depression has never held me in its grip again. And not long after, God visited me again – this time with the gift of His Holy Spirit. And I was baptized into His presence – quite like a rushing river! I have never been the same, in more ways than I can here detail.

You might think that’s a great story, but discount its value in your own life, or fail to see how it speaks to others’ journeys. While I recognize the right God reserves to lead people through their journeys in different ways, I also recognize the promise of His Word, through the presence of His Spirit, to draw us into Himself and therefore into healing and freedom. It is a promise not only available to me. It is a promise meant for the whole world, for all who will come to believe in Him.

“…Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.” Acts 2:38-39

See, I had been content with believing Jesus to get me to Heaven, not realizing that what He died to give me was so much more than just forgiveness. His life, death, and resurrection carries with it my healing, my freedom, my peace – the missing peace we have been blinded to in our struggles against the darkness of depression and despair.

Suicide comes with the promise of relief from torment by way of physical death. But physical death without truly knowing God will never bring relief. Actually, there is worse torment after death for those who have not put their faith in Christ. In studying the Scriptures recently about the events that will come at the end of our days here on earth, I was reminded that, for those who never find their peace in God, through relationship with Jesus, death will only usher them into an eternal state of suffering: more remorse, more bitterness, more pain and anguish. Because death will not change our nature, it cannot set us free from the darkness we are imprisoned by inside. We will only live forever in the same state we died in.

That’s a scary thought for me, as I see people leaning into death as a solution. My heart breaks for them, and for the many others, who are believing there will be true peace and rest found outside of the God Who is reaching to us while we are still alive.

This is not a condemnation, but rather a plea: now is the time for us to be awakened to the goodness of a God Who entered into death and hell Himself, in order to give us the promise of life by His very presence.

Some people think God is cruel for sending people who don’t believe in Him to hell. Some people suffer so much in this life that they don’t believe it can get worse, and therefore don’t believe there is a literal hell, where the torment will be even worse.

But the truth of the Bible tells us that God never meant for people to go to hell. Hell was intended to house only the fallen angels, the demonic beings who rebelled against God in hatred and pride. God loves humanity, and entered into our nature in order to save us from all that would draw our hearts toward the darkness. If we base our convictions on experience only, on personal belief only, we are setting ourselves up for a great delusion, and the suffering we seek to avoid, we will actually buy into.

I understand that everyone’s experience will not look like mine, but my experience merely confirms that everyone’s promise is the same.  With the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, we will be led into deeper relationship with Jesus, which leads to more and more healing, more and more freedom, and more and more peace. It is the undeniable reality of His Word, and of those Who have received His Spirit. He is able to do for us and in us what we cannot do ourselves. And it is His mission to lead us out of and away from deep darkness, not abandon us in the midst of it.

Dear Woman of Breakthrough, as you walk through your own journey and undoubtedly face the pains and pressures of darkness and sometimes depression, please don’t believe the lie that suicide offers real escape. Your spirit longs for the life Jesus died to give you: eternal life, which is spent in the presence of God, forever. Let your path lead to that life, by drawing near to God and receiving His promise today. Ask Him for the gift of His Holy Spirit, if you haven’t already been baptized into His presence. And tell the hurting world around you that He really did come to save us from death. Death is not a promise of relief, but an entrance into eternity. We will either spend it with God, or we will spend it in deeper darkness. And if you’re not sure if you believe that to be true, run to your Bible and read it! It’s too big of a risk to leave in the hands of chance.

God has SO much more for you! May you accept and share His invitation today, to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, to believe in Him, and to receive the fullness of the life He is holding out to you. In the end, it will make all the difference in the world…

{Photo images courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com}

 

 


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