The room was quiet. Evening was coming, and the last rays of sunlight were fading into darkness. But I didn’t bother to turn on a light. Tears streamed down my face as I struggled to muffle my sobs. One of the worst depressive episodes I had experienced was looming over me, the darkness pressing down like a heavy, black fog. The reasons for it were varied — some of it sinful, some of it typical sadness in response to trials. But much of it was my racing, obsessive thoughts twisting the normal difficulties of life into a darkened perception of existence in a mind that was prone to fall into the darkness.
I cried harder and dug my fingers into the carpet until my knuckles turned white. My head was splitting with a headache — so tired of crying, tired of being sad. What was wrong with me?
The shadows cast over my heart grew darker as I plunged into guilt over what I perceived to be an overreaction and sin on my part. I was pushed down further into the pit, a place I had been before.
With swollen eyes, I glanced down at my phone, note screen staring up at me, with a title typed at the top: “My Will.” The cursor blinked mockingly.
What am I doing? This is crazy. But I’m so sick of fighting myself. The thoughts will always come back.
With clarity, I remembered the night I first considered suicide. I was only ten-years-old, and as I stared into the darkness, thinking about my existence and the brevity of life, feelings of self-worthlessness and guilt of my sin pressing in on me, my thoughts twisted to the sinister for the first time: your life isn’t worth living.
As my adult self sat in the silence and remembered, I trembled at my own ugliness, filled with horror at where my mind was capable of going, recoiling at the sickening prospects in my head and terrified of myself and the abyss I felt I’d created in my soul.
It’s all my fault. God has abandoned me.
With shaking hands, I pushed the phone aside and reached for the weapon lying next to me. I prayed for death. I saw myself as a horrible mistake on God’s part, as though He were somehow out of control of the situation, and I begged Him to let me die.
A few moments later, it was over. The step wasn’t taken. With a heavy heart, I lifted myself off the floor.
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.
The whole experience felt ordinary. Painful, but so familiar it was almost boring.
That season of depression didn’t end right away, and it would return again — the moment in the darkened room was one episode in a series. And though He seemed so strangely silent and distant in that moment, God was there. Though there appeared to be no response to my desperate cries, He heard, and a small, gentle beacon of light and deep-seated peace pierced the sadness of my soul. A ray just large enough to make me desperately cry for more of Jesus, more of His Word.
I can look back now and see how over the years He has slowly, tenderly met me in those places again and again. He lifted me from the darkness and preserved my life even when I didn’t want it, when I tried to shake my fist at His sovereignty and attempted to throw the life He had given me back in His face.
How humbling it is to look back and see the ways God has used the most terrible things I’ve felt and done for my good and to draw me closer to Jesus. The light of the gospel gradually shines brighter in the darkest of places until I’m overcome by its brilliance and beauty.
There are others who may be sitting in that same kind of moment, on another night, alone, hurting, fighting, and losing. Still others who take the final step, and their families are left behind, heartbroken, confused, and afraid. I hurt for them, and I fear any words on my part would merely tear open the deep wounds that have barely healed or are still raw and gaping. But maybe my words can remind you of this:
Run to Jesus. Tell yourself of who God is.
He is the fullness of compassion, of everything good, everything just, everything true. He is the One who is more than enough to heal the most desperate of situations, the deepest scars, the ugliest wounds. He is the One who is so holy no person can look at His face without falling to His feet as though dead. It is He who is your hope. He who pierces the darkness with His inextinguishable light. He who stoops down to lift broken souls from the dust. He whose Word contains the only truth. He whose blood ran down a wooden cross as He drank the cup of God’s wrath to the very bottom that you might live.
Hold onto Him, run to Him, remember Him in those moments of darkness.
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.’ Then my spirit made a diligent search: ‘Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?” . . . I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.”
Psalm 77:6-8, 11 (ESV)
He drank the cup of God's wrath to the very bottom that you might live. -Katherine Flach: Click To Tweet