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Poem: The Night I Died Inside

This is a poem I wrote many years ago when I was first struggling with depression. I hope you enjoy it. – W.R. Harris

 

The Night I Died Inside

 

Insects consumed my heart

The night I died inside.

They made my blood defunct,

And all light seemed to hide.

 

Contaminated chaff,

My blood crept through my veins.

It deadened nerves and sight

And cast my hope in chains.

 

The bugs exulted in

Their lofty victory,

But to the bugs surprise

They died inside of me.

 

Though haunting still remains,

Hurt still tries to abide,

Rebirth transformed my heart

The night I died inside.

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Yelling at God

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:46

“God, always the last resort of the helpless—God is sometimes so slow to act!” – Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur

This is a subject I want to address because I think people sometimes feel guilty about it. As with anxiety and depression, this can be sinful, but it can also be perfectly fine.

I know I yelled at God more than once during my bouts of depression and OCD. Sometimes you’ve been bent so much you feel you’re about to break. The natural response is to question God and/or yell at Him. Perhaps you’ve been in the same situation and you yelled at God and now you feel guilty. It happened to me. On top of all the other shame and depression and guilt I felt, I felt guilty about yelling at God. I thought He was looking down at me saying, “Jeez, will this guy ever get it together?”

Granted, you can hate God from the bottom of your heart and curse Him. That’s sinful, and perhaps some of you reading this book have been there. The good news is God always offers forgiveness. But you can also yell at God in distress, opening up to Him about your deepest thoughts and fears and frustrations. You can honestly question God to His face and tell Him why you don’t understand His reasoning. You can scream at Him to look at you and help you—you can even tell Him you’re frustrated at Him for not helping.

The sort of uber-spiritual, fundamentalist, puritanical theology discussed in the previous chapter would probably tell you you’re sinning and you wouldn’t do this if you actually trust God. But that’s a lie from the pit of hell. How do I know? Let’s look at Jesus.

On the Mount of Olives in the most difficult situation in history, Jesus prayed to His Father. Jesus knew what was about to happen; as God, He knew the future, so He knew He was going to follow through and hang on the cross. But the weight of punishment for humanity’s sins was so distressing that He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Jesus cried to God in His distress. What a wonderful Savior He is. He didn’t stroll happily under the guise of “I trust God, so I don’t need to be stressed.” Our Savior is not the spiritual guru of unattainable spirituality that you can’t relate to. He does not look at you in your struggles and say, “Ah, humans…” with a smile and a shake of His head. You are not alone in your suffering. Christ does not just understand your suffering, He has suffered with you. I wouldn’t want the savior of the uber-spirituals.

And look at David in the Psalms. He questions God and lays his heart bare before Him. He doesn’t always understand God’s ways.

I think God wants us to be completely open with Him. I’ll even go as far as to say I think God wants us—at least sometimes—to question Him. There is little in life that brings us closer to Him.

Talk to God. Open up to Him, even if it’s ugly. He can handle it. And if it’s done with a good heart, don’t feel guilty. Don’t let anyone else make you feel guilty about it either.

This is an excerpt from my book Anxiety and Depression Are (Not) Always Sins, which can be bought on Amazon at this link: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B075Z17W11

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One Way to Increase Your Faith

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” – John 16:33.

Jesus said it, and it doesn’t take too long in life before you experience it. Trouble. Trials. Tribulations. Obstacles. Whatever word you want to use. They’re not done coming until we go home to be with Jesus. It’d be in our best interest to go ahead and accept that.

I remember when I was in high school before I knew Jesus. I dreaded anything going wrong. My life was going well, and I lived in the naïve bliss that I’d keep it that way. So, naturally, the worst thing that could happen—and the thing I was most unprepared for—was to face hard times. When you live with the naïve thought that nothing bad or hard will come your way, it knocks you completely off balance when something difficult does come. Everything is wrong and you can’t control yourself because your life isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Charles Spurgeon, the great London preacher of the 1800’s, commented on that passage, saying, “It is of no use to hope that we shall be well rooted if no rough winds pass over us.” Hardship of some kind will come, and it is an opportunity. We have the option of throwing a tantrum because life isn’t going our way, or we have the option of trusting Jesus and seeking Him through the hard times.

The right choice is obvious, but it’s not easy. Our instinct as humans is to sink to the basest parts of ourselves. We like to feed our ego, the negativity, the pain. But every time we choose Jesus instead, we are rewarded. We realize how good it feels, we realize that He is with us every step, and we realize that He is better than anything the world could offer. We feel closer to Him, and the next time a trial comes we have more faith that Jesus is the better way. And, to make things better, this more robust faith will permeate other parts of our lives.

So next time hardship comes—and it will—think of it as an opportunity to trust Jesus and increase your faith. After all, He is the most solid foundation.