Cut my life into pieces … this is my last resort

When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Colossians 3:4, NASB

 

Many, many years ago, I passed through the darkest period of my life. It was a time in which the end of a bad relationship left me without the will to live.

I remember feeling that the pain was so unbearable that I wanted to crawl out of my own skin to escape it. I remember the desperate feeling of hopelessness. I recall the tears, the heart-rending agony, the prayers that did not seem to escape my dorm room walls. Most of all, I remember equating existence with unspeakable pain.

I remember wishing to die.

Its such an unimaginable thought. Wishing for death? If you sit at an outdoor booth in Manhattan, you’ll see all varieties of people rushing by. They’re all trying to live as long as they can. They see doctors. They exercise. They eat celery. Even those who don’t would still take most any action if their lives depended on it.

And yet there I was, in a place I pray very few people go. Its so strange when you come to that precipice. I remember with high-definition clarity that overcast day when I crossed the street from my dorm room to the Village Market, almost praying to be struck by a car. A dark moment in the middle of the night spent staring at a knife set in the middle of a hotel kitchen. My face was drenched with tears by the time I was close enough to touch them. I cried because I felt God’s longing for me to take a look at where I’d gotten myself.

Why am I saying this? Because the other day, I recalled those moments and marveled. My despair was so complete. My life seemed so empty, devoid of love and hope. It all seemed so horrific that I actually thought it would be preferable to give up living.

I don’t know how Jesus saved me from that experience. But He did.

He saved me. I didn’t feel a lightning bolt of relief. I didn’t heal quickly. But now, looking back, I can joyfully say, I KNOW my Redeemer lives. He gave me the oil of joy for sadness. He gave me beauty for ashes. In all my life, I have never known such love and happiness. Once upon a time, I lost myself. My life felt completely hopeless. But now, I have found my life in Jesus Christ. I’ve never felt more complete.

Why do I share this? I share it for you. I don’t know what you’re going through. But if you feel like you’re all out of hope, I’ve been there. I’ve brooded in misery with headphones in my ears, listening to hard rock songs about suicide; I’ve sung the words as if they were written just for me.

“Would you even care if I die bleeding? Would it be wrong, would it be right, if I took my life tonight? Chances are that I might. Mutilation out of sight, and I’m contemplating suicide. Cuz I’m losing my sight, losing my mind, wish somebody would tell me I’m fine… “

And then the climax of the song would come, and he would scream: “I can’t go on living this way!”

If that’s how you feel, the next word I’m going to write can change your life forever.

But. But not just any but. But Jesus.

There may not appear to be hope in your life. You might be feeling like life has pushed you into a dark alleyway corner with a knife pushed up against your throat. There may not be light at the end of the tunnel.

But there is Jesus.

Satan might say, “You can’t go on living this way,” but the Bible says,

“But anyone still alive has hope…” Ecclesiastes 9:4, NCV

And so, if you’re still alive, no matter how hopeless you feel, the almighty God of the universe says you have hope.

A doctor can heal your body. Medicine can numb your pain. Drugs can get you out of your head so you can ignore the desolation in your heart. But only Jesus can heal you on the inside. When you’ve tried it all and you think your only option is death, God invites you to choose life. You can do that simply by choosing Him.

If you don’t know how He can possibly heal you, it doesn’t matter. You may not know how Aleve makes your headache go away, but that does not for a moment stop it from working, does it? The GOOD NEWS is that your lack of knowledge is incapable of making Him incapable of saving you.

Jesus, I don’t know how you saved me. But You did. And for that, my life, my love, and my adoration will always belong to You.

¡¡¡Te amo!!!

Javier

Click here for a quick view of all the Bible verses in this blog post on my tumblr page.

The Gift of Brokenness

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:3-4

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Psalms 51:17

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalms 34:18

Do you feel like you’re falling apart inside? Like life has a personal vendetta against you? Consider it your moment of opportunity.

It sounds completely crazy, I know. But having a broken spirit can be a priceless gift.

Think about it. How many people have you met who choose to bottle their pain up instead of dealing with it? How many people destroy their bodies and shorten their lives using alcohol and drugs to cover up their hurts? How many crave the sensory overload of a night club but never ask themselves why? How many become pleasure addicts, seeking a dopamine rush from food, sex, gambling, compulsive shopping, or any number of quick fixes? If you’ve ever been addicted to anything, you know that addiction is slavery. (If you don’t have first-hand knowledge of that, this new show on TLC will convince you.) How many people out there would rather be enslaved to vices than face the truth of their brokenness, the truth that always screams louder in the stillness and quiet?

When you’re numb, or high, or otherwise over-stimulated, it’s easy to desensitize your heart to the pain and forget yourself. The fear of coming back to that quiet, still place keeps you running away. The saddest part is, when you run like that, like a dog chasing it’s tail, you’re only running from yourself.

But if you feel broken, and you think you’ve got nothing left, then you’ve actually got something that the people in denial don’t have: hope.

Yes, you read that right. Hope. Because if you’re not aware that you’re broken, you’ll never try to get better. As long as you refuse to own up to your brokenness, you will never stop looking for a fix. But, if you know you’re broken, you actually want to be fixed. You’ll ask the question that can change everything:

What do I do now?

When the jailer charged with keeping Paul and Silas imprisoned saw that they had been set free by an angel, he resolved to kill himself rather than face the punishment that awaited him; but when Paul told him all the prisoners were still there, the jailer fell at their feet and asked this very question.

“And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ (Acts 16:29-30).

Likewise, when Peter boldly laid out the gospel at Pentecost, the book of Acts tells us that those who accepted his message were “pierced to the heart” by God’s truth (Acts 2:38). Their sin was laid bare before them. Accepting their brokenness, they asked the apostles, “What shall we do?”

The answer?

  • Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
  • Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.  (Acts 16:31)

If you are broken, it’s because you haven’t found anything in the world that can give you what you need the most. Drugs will mask the pain. Pleasure-seeking will temporarily distract you from it. But when you’re ready to stop running and take an unflinching look at your broken life, the Savior is waiting to pick up the pieces.

And that’s why there’s nothing wrong with falling to your knees, if you fall at the feet of Jesus. If you’re broken, there is hope for you, if you will reach for the outstretched hand of God.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in…”  (Revelation 3:20).

Mourning Ends When Morning Begins

“For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor, a lifetime. Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning. (Psalm 30:5, HCSB)”

The older you get, the more times you experience moments like these. Getting a heartbreaking phone call. The flood of tears. Walking through the corridors of a hospital. And then there’s that moment when you see your loved one, lying in that hospital bed, not looking quite the same. Sometimes only machines are keeping them alive. They are alive in the most basic sense of the word, and yet they are really dead.

I arrived to the hospital too late for my grandmother – she had already stopped breathing when I walked into the room. Her face was changed. The lifelessness was immediately evident somehow. As soon as I recognized it, the flood came again.

Today, for my uncle, we arrived while he was still on the respirator. He still had reflexes – he moved his legs when the doctor tickled his feet. But the doctor was clear about the fact that what happened to his brain was a catastrophic event from which he would never recover.

My other uncle mentioned to the doctor that our only hope was a miracle, to which she replied, “Not even a miracle could save him at this point.” (I don’t think she’s too clear on the meaning of the word miracle.)

I watched my mother approach his bedside, stroke the hair back from his forehead, and gaze at him with deep sadness. In my eyes, it was a silent attempt to accept his loss, to say goodbye to the brother that always remembered her across any distance, always called, and never failed to send her birthday and Christmas cards, year after year.

There is no easy way to say goodbye. Often we get so caught up in the daily routines of life that we can forget the fleeting nature of our lives. The death of someone close shakes us back to reality and reminds us of our mortality. We remember that God has said that our lives are like a vapor that disappears into the wind.

A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:6-8, NASB)

It hurts. But I praise God for the hope of the Second Coming of Jesus. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Psalm 30:5 says that weeping spends the night, but there is joy in the morning. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit which He gives as a gift to those who love Him and keep His commandments. To me, this verse means that God is assuring us that our suffering is only temporary. Suffering itself will pass away; it will die an eternal death. Jesus gives us inexpressible, inexplicable, unfathomable joy here and now, and then on that glorious morning, we will live with Him forever in that joy.

Weeping may spend the night, but joy awaits us when the morning light of the Son of God shines upon us.

Come, Lord Jesus. Let us see the light of Your return break this night into eternal day.

photo by [ henning ] accessed via flickr