What is this blog about?
Life can be hard. Living can seem impossible sometimes. “Having depression,” “feeling suicidal,” and other such terms are ways that we seek to describe something that deifies description, yet can also be summed up in two words: life hurts.
I have been down the road of depression. I have dealt with suicide in my own life. I am familiar with at least some ways that these phenomena can manifest themselves, simply from my own experience. That experience tells me that struggling through things like depression is very painful. I’ve also spent time learning from other people about different ways that dealing with the challenge of life can manifest itself. I’ve seen how many other people struggle with life in ways that relate to my own struggles.
This blog is meant to be a place where these pains that many of us face can be discussed freely, as different topics that relate to the burdens of our lives are explored. My hope is that as these issues are addressed, I can also share some of the helpful things I have found throughout my journey since my struggle with suicide began.
My deepest desire in writing here is to offer you hope. I want to see you find comfort. I want you to know that you are not alone. But I want you to have better comfort than that. I will be offering something else in my posts, which is the thing that has been my ultimate comfort: my faith. It is what got me through my darkest times, and it’s the reason why I am alive now. I believe in the Christian God. Below you can find out different information related to him that some of my posts will be referring to. It might help you understand some of my content as you read about some of the topics that I decide to address, since my faith has been integral to how I have understood and journeyed through many issues.
All the best to you as you face your journey of life, taking it one day at a time, if needed. And may you find comfort!
An Ultimate Source of Truth
The source of truth that I turn to in order to decipher all truth claims in my life is the word of the Christian God. I have spent many years turning to his word to weigh the ideas that I encounter, and seek to understand how I should live and proceed in life. I have always found the words of my God to be faithful. Sometimes his words are difficult, to be sure, because they may go against other truth claims that I am more used to. Yet, over time I have more and more seen how my God is good in all that he says and instructs. All of his words are found in a book called the Bible. Those of us who have dedicated our lives to following him believe that he has the right to tell us what is true, and that he has the ability to discern what is true, because he is the one who made the universe and rules over all things. He existed before our world was even formed, and he has always been wise and good.
The word of God tells me that he loves me so much that he sent his own son, Jesus, to the Earth on a rescue mission to save me from my worst troubles and enemies. You can read more about that below. The Bible not only tells me what is true, but it starts to reorient my very feelings. I know that I am loved by my Maker.
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance I’ve learned the secret of facing abundance and need… I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
These words were written by a man named Paul, and they were included in a book called the Bible. The Bible is the book that expresses the Christian faith (you can read more about that below). This strength that Paul found – strength to be grateful in every circumstance – came from God himself, who helped Paul face a great deal of hardship. God comforted Paul amid many trials, and Paul learned to trust God and be grateful to him at all times.
The ultimate blessing in my life is that I have been loved by the one Being in the universe who can love perfectly. He is the one who invented love: the Creator of the universe. He is perfectly good, and he is worthy of all of my love. Unfortunately, our human race failed to love him when we failed to live the way that he says is right. He is the Maker of the universe, and he sets standards of how we should conduct ourselves in the world that he has made. His standards are perfect and good. For example, he wants us to love one another perfectly. Yet, we fail to meet these standards. This cuts us off from fellowship with him.
However, he showed his love for us in a way beyond what we can truly fathom when he sent his own son, Jesus Christ, to come into the world to save us. Jesus had to die to take the punishment we deserve for breaking the standards that the Creator had set. Jesus willingly endured death for us, and then, because his work had been perfect, he came back to life, having made a way that we can have peace with our Maker. Anyone who truly believes in their unworthiness and in the work of Christ, and then embraces Jesus as the one who has saved them and who has the right to guide them in how to live a proper form of life, receives peace with God. This is the ultimate blessing, and the ultimate gift. Through Jesus, we have access to the love of our Creator and to an eternity in heaven with him. For a further explanation, please see the booklet “Ultimate Questions” by John Blanchard.
The Pattern of Glory for Followers of Jesus
It was said concerning Jesus that God, “…predicted the sufferings of Christ (Jesus) and the glories to follow.” There is a direct correlation between what Jesus, the Son of God, suffered and this result that appeals to all of us: glory. True and perfect glory came out of the suffering of Christ. When he suffered and died a painful death on earth, he saved everyone who would ever follow him. Everyone who ever follows him will also see all of their upright suffering result in true, perfect glory, the same way that Christ’s did.
The big question is, how does one become a follower of Christ? We think of following as relating to trailing behind someone, quite literally. That is not what is in view here. A follower of Christ is someone who realizes they need Christ to save them. Why would anyone need to be saved? We need to be saved because the God who made the universe is perfect, while all of us are imperfect. We do things that are wrong, and because of that, God has to punish all of us at the end of time. Yet, if we realize that Jesus came to this earth, suffered and actually died to receive the punishment we deserve for the wrong things we do, and if we will trust the sacrifice and goodness of Jesus as sufficient to save us from the punishment we have merited, then we can have peace. You don’t have to make any sacrifices of your own. We simply have to realize our own need, and trust in the sacrifice that someone else made. We have to embrace the love of Jesus. Following him means we must comprehend that he loves us, embrace his love, and then love him in return.
This is only a short and simple explanation. For more in-depth discussion, please refer to the booklet, “Ultimate Questions” by John Blanchard.
In our hardest times, we reach out for some type of sustenance and strength that can help us to endure. Sometimes “enduring” for me looks like having to take life one moment at a time. At such times, I have clung to the sustenance I have found referenced in the words of this promise: “As your days, so shall your strength be.” (I referenced these things in the following post: https://feelingsuicidalblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/facing-the-journey/) This promise was made in the Bible by my God, who helps all of his children through their hardest times. He is near to them. He gives them enough strength for every day, one day at a time.
Who are these children? They are those who have believed that God exists, that he is perfect, that we have failed to be perfect, and that Jesus, the son of God, came and made a sacrifice of his own life in order to bear the punishment we deserve for our imperfection. By placing trust in Jesus, anyone can be forgiven and become a child of God.
Someone Who Will Listen
In the Bible, Jesus says these famous words, “Come to me, you who are weary, and I will give you rest.” It’s such a beautiful invitation, one that I have responded to countless times. My God often uses these words to comfort me as I come to talk to him in prayer. As I speak to him, either out loud or in my heart, I am able to express everything I am feeling and experiencing. As I correspondingly ponder God’s love for me, his friend, and read his words in the Bible, I find comfort. The Bible says that Jesus, the son of God, became a human, and came down to earth to save us. While he was here he suffered immensely, and therefore when we speak to him in prayer he is able to sympathize with us. These are only tiny highlights of the comfort that I find from knowing that God loves me, and from being able to pray to him. You can read more about these things and about becoming a friend of God in the book that I often reference on this page, “Ultimate Questions”, by John Blanchard.
Meaning to closed doors
I believe that my God is the one who has given meaning to the closed doors in my life. He is the one who has promised me that he will make everything in my life works for my good, even if I don’t understand the meaning of his plans right now. I count on his promises that he is working for good even when I don’t understand. I trust in him the way that a child has to learn to trust their parent.
How can you know that he is working everything for good in your life? You have to be saved by his son Jesus. You have to believe that you need God, and that he is ready to help you. It’s profound, yet simple. You can read more about it in the book “Ultimate Questions” by John Blanchard.
“Don’t Be Afraid”
My God is the one who has said these words to me. He says them many times in the book He wrote, the Bible. In the Bible he tells me he loves me and has the power to make sure I’ll always be strong enough to face my troubles with courage and peace from him, if I’ll look to him to help me. He says he’ll never leave me. His presence reassures me, as I sense it in the times when I’m afraid. Knowing someone always loves me, no matter what, gives me confidence. If you want to know more about what I believe about God, and how he helps me, please keep reading below.
Failure – The Different Views
Mankind views failure as a shortcoming, most commonly in areas such as work, sports performance, the plans parents have for children, etc. God has a very different view. Certainly He knows that sometimes we don’t meet our earthly goals. That’s inevitable…but it’s also not the end of the world, not by God’s standards. He says true failure is ultimately this: failing to love God. If you want to know what exactly loving God means (or want to know more about who God is) please check out this wonderful resource by John Blanchard: “Ultimate Questions.”
There is a common perception of peace that is circulating in our world today. This perception tells us that peace is an elusive, dreamy thing. It mostly happens on trips to the beach, when we have no work to do, no family to take care of, no responsibilities whatsoever… Peace has become about little more than a tranquil environment.
Is this what peace really is? I do not believe so. It is true that it is nice to have a tranquil environment and quiet moments. However, the deepest and truest peace has to be something that can last no matter what is going on outside of us.
As time has gone on I have found more and more of this sort of strong and lasting peace. I found it offered to me in the Bible by someone you may have heard of: Jesus. He offers true peace to all who will believe in him (see below for more of a discussion about “belief”). The peace Jesus gives me is founded on promises that I know he will keep. He has promised to give me strength to face my circumstances. He has promised to love me forever and ever. He has promised to use the difficult things in my life to make me a better person. He has even promised that at the end of my life I will go to be with him in heaven (see more about “heaven” below).
This is the deep and wonderful peace that has been such a blessing to me. I would love it if you could experience this peace too. If you scroll down to the section below that talks about “heaven”, you’ll see information about how to learn more about peace and other such topics related to Jesus and what he offers us.
Also, if you are journeying through some difficult times in your life, I would highly recommend looking into resources by Dr. Edward Welch. He has written on shame, anxiety, depression and various other topics in a helpful and compassionate manner. If you don’t have the time for a book, New Growth Press offers a variety of mini books on topics related to numerous life struggles.
True hope, unlike fleeting hope, isn’t just a wish. It’s a guarantee. It’s comfort. It’s an anchor for the soul. It dwells on the promises of a God who tells us He will be with us, love us, cherish us, guard us, and ultimately save us from this sad and broken world, if we will humbly entrust our souls to Him. If the ruler of your country promised you he’d provide you the best care and protection available, think how you would feel! If the love of your heart told you he or she would always cherish and be there for you (and actually delivered on that promise), image how you would be warmed inside and strengthened to go on!
Well, the promises of God are like these imaginary promises, but infinitely more glorious. They are meant to tantalize our souls. They are meant to give us peace, the peace Jesus Himself offered those who put their faith in Him and follow after Him. “Peace I leave with you,” He said, “peace I give unto you…I give you a peace not like any peace this world offers you…”
I believe that when I die I will not simply cease to exist. This life is not all that is. Death does not end everything. I believe there are things that whisper this truth to us. CS Lewis put it this way: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Heaven is the place I was truly made for. It is one of only two places I believe people can end up once they die (the other one being hell ). It is a good and beautiful place, a place that I long for very much. It is a place where my pain will end, and there will be no more struggle, no more pushing through one day at a time to endure. There will be no more depression, no more anxiety. It will be peaceful.
Joni Erickson Tada, a woman who has lived most of her life paralyzed and in a wheelchair, often battling chronic pain, has written some absolutely beautiful lines about this heavenly home she looks forward to. The hope of seeing it is part of what keeps her going when things are difficult, for she knows that when she has “run her race”, something very good is waiting at the end. She says about heaven:
“Heaven is rock-solid real. Much more real than anything we can see, touch, or taste on this earth.… The most beautiful, pleasurable things one could enjoy here on this planet are only hints and whispers, and omens – mere crayon scribbles on a grocery sack – of even greater, more glorious things. Pleasures on earth are just shadows of their realities in heaven.”
Sometimes when we face pain on this earth we try to cope by embracing pleasures down here. Often times when we do this we get ourselves into even worse trouble. Good pleasure in moderation is one thing, but pain very often does not want to settle for that. If we let pain steer the ship, bad things are likely to happen. What starts out as searching for a haven turns into getting shipwrecked. We abuse alcohol and end up with health problems; we sleep around and end up with an unplanned pregnancy… The possibilities are endless. As it turns out, our ideas of pleasure are fractured and tainted. If we could only glimpse what true heaven is, we would begin to see what real pleasure is.
Real pleasure is perfectly beautiful, perfectly peaceful, and never causes any trouble or any pain. Heaven will be full of this sort of pleasure. To quote CS Lewis another time
“It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around…when infinite joy is offered to us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the seashore. We are too easily pleased.”
In heaven, we will understand true rapture for the first time.
And how does one get to go to heaven? All one has to do is believe something called the Gospel. If you want to find out more about it, a perfect resource is Ultimate Questions by John Blanchard. if you are searching for hope and for answers, this is a perfect place to start. The hope of heaven is the perfect light to brighten your life.