I love this quote. I don’t remember the first time I read it, but it resonated with me immediately. I see in myself that person, carrying buckets of cold water to douse the flames trying to consume the lost and hopeless.
I’ve been through hell here on earth. Over a decade of it. I felt sure all was lost. The thoughts in my head wouldn’t go away. They said things like:
- I’ll always be broken.
- My family would be better off without me.
- Nobody likes me.
- I’m worthless.
- I’ll never hold down a full-time job.
- I’m weak and helpless, good for nothing.
- I can’t leave my house; it’s not safe.
- I’m going to be attacked again and I deserve it.
- I hate people!
- I just want to die.
Depression that stems from sexual trauma is a special kind of hell. The way our culture questions survivors of rape, asks what they did to bring it on, makes many victims say nothing. They tell no one. Instead they keep the secret inside, bury it in their soul, where it sprouts and grows. It grows bitterness, self-loathing, fear, anger, hatred, and hopelessness. It grows lies, like the ones I told myself over and over. That secret fans the flames of hell, burning the soul.
I walked out of those flames; okay, maybe crawled would be a better description. But I am victorious, still alive, still a little broken but okay with that. I didn’t do it alone. I had friends, family, prayer warriors, and Jesus Himself who helped me.
I’ve learned that none of my burning thoughts, even if they were partly true, didn’t change the fact that God loves me. He loves me so much He sent His Son Jesus to redeem me, to douse the flames of hell for me.
And when I began to share my secret, let it out into the light of day, something amazing happened. The sprouts of bitterness, hatred, and hopelessness began to wither. Jesus exposed the lies I had believed and showed me these truths:
- Though I am a cracked jar of clay, I hold His power within me. (See 2 Corinthians 4:7-10).
- My family needs me just the way I am.
- A lot of people like me, and quite a few love me too.
- I am worth dying for. (See Romans 5:8).
- I can do anything Jesus calls me to do. (See Philippians 4:13).
- I am weak but He is strong. (See 2 Corinthians 12:10).
- My soul is safe in the arms of Jesus, even if my body is not. (See Matthew 10:28).
- If I am ever attacked again, it won’t be because I deserve it.
- I LOVE people!
- I want to die to self and live for Christ. (See Galatians 2:20).
- It is well with my soul.
These statements are true for you too. If you are feeling the flames of hell on earth, for whatever reason, I am here to pour the cool water of truth on the lies that are fanning the flames. And not just me. Bryan and Les are also here to help carry you out. I pray you can connect locally with loved ones who can help bear your burden and bring you into the abundant life Jesus promised.
The despair of hell can seem so real, but trust me. It is only a deception of the evil one. I in no way want to diminish the pain you are feeling. I know how painful depression and trauma can be. But hold on. Help is on its way.