Just Hang On

I’m going to break away from my original plan for today. I will get back on topic soon. But for some reason this has become more urgent. My cousin made a couple of comments yesterday morning that really began to work in my spirit. She talked about a young woman who she had known in the past. The young woman overdosed on pills in an attempt to commit suicide. The doctors tried to save her, but inevitably they and the family could do little more than stand by and watch this girl cry “I don’t want to die” while her organs began to shut down one by one as the pills overloaded her system. I gather that the process wasn’t the painless ‘quick fix’ that the girl had intended.

Why suicide?

I know that this is a touchy subject for many. And maybe I should apologize in advance. But I really feel that this is important. The consensus among many is that suicide is an act of complete selfishness. I guess that the reasons vary. To a degree, selfishness plays into most cases. I’m not taking the haughty selfishness necessarily, but an inability to see past ‘self’. ‘My worries’, ‘My shame’, ‘My confusion’, ‘My pain’. I suspect that the pain in a person’s spirit can get so bad that even death seems to be a welcome alternative.

I’ve been working this over & over. I’ve tried to write wonderful examples, with eloquent words to better portray my thoughts. But the words simply didn’t work. Earlier today I was praying about it and God told me that I didn’t need those fancy words … just keep it simple and say it straight. So, here’s the not-so-nutshell version:

There are very few people alive today that at one point in their lives didn’t contemplate, even for a split second, the ending of their life. For some, it was the shame of a misdeed or misspoken word; for others it may have been worries about a situation that looked too overwhelming and scary. Drugs and alcohol tend to fuddle the brain and add to an already confused mind. Pain is probably the biggest contributor to attempted suicide, or at least the fear of pain – both physical and/or emotional. You often hear of someone who’s been diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness taking their life because they fear the painful effects of the disease. I’m going to be real honest here, when my illness first started about nine years ago and the pain was unbearable … I asked God more than once to take me home. I wouldn’t have considered suicide, but I was sure hoping He would have decided that my work was done and it was time for me to go home. I didn’t want to think about a long life if it was going to be consumed with that level of pain. For a few years, doctors discounted me, the pain increased, and I found that the only way to endure it was to put my focus on something other than myself. The long, sleepless & painful nights soon evolved around the internet. I discovered blogs. Northern Farmer & KS Milkmaid kept me company and encouraged me with their love for God and for the farm life He had given them. My love for my (truck driver) husband and compassion for the men & women on the road led me to develop Sojourner2heaven. Eventually God led me to a doctor that found a medication for my nerve damage and now the pain is bearable. God has shown me how to function and be used by Him in spite of my circumstances. Am I an isolated case? Not hardly. Through the ages, men and women have survived much greater problems than mine, and served God in tremendous ways. The real key is to tear your thoughts off your problems and put all your energy into focusing on God. I can tell you from experience … it’s really hard at first. “My worries, My shame, My fear, and My pain” seem so insurmountable. But, God is always right there to embrace you. God is always right there to hear your cries and wipe your tears. God is always right there to walk through the trials with you. He said that He will never leave you or forsake you. I can tell you first hand just how true that really is!

I want to give you a better example than me. Peter. Peter walked the dusty roads with Jesus. He slept under the same stars. He shared the same meals. Not only was Jesus his teacher, but He was also Peter’s best friend. Peter was there when the soldiers went to the garden to arrest Jesus. Peter was there when Jesus was tried & falsely convicted. Peter was there when Jesus was beaten. And as Jesus foretold, Peter denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed. I’ve often thought about how Peter must have felt.

Worried? His Lord and his friend was beaten just short of the point of death and then nailed to a cross. If that wasn’t enough, Peter and the others were known as Jesus’ disciples. Would they be searched for next?

Shame? The Bible states that Peter was ashamed of himself. But I suspect it was a shame deeper than any we could imagine. I’m sure that satan’s minions did a real number on Peter’s mind. How could he possibly go back home and tell the neighbors that the man he had been telling everyone was the Messiah is now dying on a cross among common criminals?

Fear? What about the ‘tomorrow” that Jesus had promised? Peter staked his entire life on that promise. How could he possibly go back to just being a fisherman after walking in the footsteps of Jesus for the past three years?

Pain? The pain of heartbreak can be so bad that it actually results in physical pain. In reading the Scriptures, I often try to put myself in Peter’s place. How would I have felt in his circumstance? I imagine the pain of his broken heart was enough to make him double over with gut-wrenching pain. The uncontrollable sobs that he surely endured must have left him aching and weak. I don’t doubt for a minute that there was tremendous pain in watching the friend that he called ‘Master’ suffer and die.

The fact is, Peter did hang on. When Jesus was resurrected, Peter recommitted himself to the Lord and went on with rock-like faith, which is the foundation of our belief in Christ. (Matthew 16:17-18)

This brings to mind another man that walked with Jesus, as Peter did. He too betrayed Christ and felt the same “Worry, Shame, Fear, and Pain” that Peter felt. The difference being that Judas gave in to these emotions. Judas wouldn’t allow himself to hang on. Judas had only to ask for forgiveness and be restored in fellowship with Christ. Some say that maybe Judas was an impostor from the very beginning and didn’t truly believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Maybe so. But if that were the case, why did Judas stay with Jesus during His ministry? And why did Judas become so remorseful that he tried to return the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests & elders, (as described in Matthew 27:3-5), stating “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood”? Judas just needed to hang on a little bit longer. I suspect that many people today are in the ‘Judas condition’. They knew, or knew of, Jesus but wouldn’t submit to Him as Lord. They just can’t seem to get ‘me’ pushed out of the way long enough to get their eyes on Jesus.

Folks, I didn’t intend for this to get so long. But, like I said earlier, God has really put this on my heart and for some reason it’s very important. If all you hear today is “THERE IS HOPE IN JESUS!” Then you’ve heard all there is. When it all seems to be too much, THERE IS HOPE IN JESUS! When you can’t see a reason to live, THERE IS HOPE IN JESUS! When tomorrow looks like a black tunnel with no light in sight, hang on THERE IS HOPE IN JESUS! When you feel that you are too tired and too weak to go on, THERE IS STRENGTH AND HOPE IN JESUS. Talk to Him. Better still, cry out to Him! Don’t stop calling until He answers you! He will. I know this first hand. God knew you before you were ever born. He created you special and has a purpose for your life. It’s a big purpose. It has to be … the miracle of childbirth isn’t a small feat. You are the result of that miracle. Seek Him. Submit your life to Him. Then allow Him to lead you. Jesus has died and risen to give you eternal life with Him. He has a beautiful future waiting for you. Just hang on.

My prayer is that this reaches the one God has intended it for. Know that you are loved and that I am praying for you. May the Lord bless you and keep you in His care.

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