“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.”
– 2 Corinthians 1:8-11a
I witnessed a situation where someone respected as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ stated that someone who was coping with grief and struggling with contemplating suicide was ‘too old for that.’ I was amazed mainly because I couldn’t understand why such a response when it is obvious through scripture that people of faith had the same struggle. I have a friend who is a minister too, and when he had heard from me, I was struggling with being depressed, it caught him off guard initially, but eventually he preached about it through his own personal encounter that had led to him attempting suicide. I also have another friend who was not as fortunate and lost his bought with depression by attempting and successfully committing suicide a few years back due to marital conflicts he was having the same time I was going through mine that ended with separation and divorce.
I have since discovered, my choice to go through the process of grief willingly upon the initial phase of my transition, God met me right where I was and through life’s faith walk with Him I encountered people around me and in scripture who were faced with grief. It is only because of God’s grace I am where I am today sharing His grace with others, through His word, as He has revealed it to me.
The Apostle Paul mentions in today’s scripture reference a time in his faith walk where he encountered grief in the face of overwhelming circumstances that brought him face to face with the reality of death. He mentions despair, hardships, suffering, great pressure, feeling overwhelmed and feeling the sentence of death in their hearts, which sounds like they wanted to die, or thought they would. I am grateful of the journey of faith God took me through with grief so I could see from the perspective of scripture I am not too old to feel what I feel, neither should I be ashamed or influenced to think I am sinning because of how I feel, because feelings are a part of being human. In fact, being fully human, Jesus declared His soul was full of sorrow to the point of death in the garden of Gethsemane before His death on the cross. Even when I shared this verse with older adolescent students, they said it sounded like Jesus was depressed, wanted to die or commit suicide.
I have learned to embrace the reality of being human so I can grow to embrace my need for the divine! The Apostle Paul has taught me from 2 Corinthians 1 the value of expressing my thoughts and feelings. Journaling is teaching me how to identify them quicker and understand why. Jesus’ expressed emotions in the garden help me to accept my feelings as valid and because of what my Savior suffered I know He understands me in how I feel, even if no one else does. This has taught me how to talk to God about how I feel and encounter the full intimate relationship I share with Him when He leads me to verses of scripture that reinforce He knows, understands me and sees me where I am currently that refreshes me and holds me up until my breakthrough comes! Regardless of how I feel or where I am, I am convinced God cares for me, He is concerned about me and He will save me!
May God bless you and help you to find effective ways to cope with life’s challenges as you transition towards resiliency and grant you favor to be a source of encouragement and inspiration for others too!