The Choice He Made When He Was Suicidal
"For his anger lasts but for only a moment, his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5
One of the first meaningful things I learned about my husband when I met him was that he had struggled with a severe anger problem earlier in his life. He told me stories of how angry he would get, sometimes knocking holes in walls.
He was angry at times not even knowing why he was angry. He held fast to grudges and remembered every foul thing done to him or said to him.
I couldn't believe this gentle soul could have been violent, but it was true.
His mother confirmed his stories. "I worried about him so much," she confessed.
"So how did you overcome your anger?" I asked.
His answer was simply, "Through learning to be grateful at all times." The verse he leaned on was 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you."
Any time he got angry, disappointed, or discouraged, he counseled himself through with gratefulness in his heart and with the Word of God. It's not an easy task, but he feels like it saved his life.
What many people don't know about my husband is that he has been suicidal. Life seemed too hard, not worth living, too complicated. He never told anyone when he was feeling this way--most people serious about suicide don't tell--that makes it even scarier to think about.
But God intervened in his story and gave him a future and a hope. And he was grateful. He remains grateful.
When life was fading before him, the Word of God pulled him out of the pit and set him up on a rock.
My husband is the one who truly taught me what it meant to have joy during all of our circumstances. When our bank account has a negative balance with NSF charges, we can still access joy. When we face challenges at work seeming too impossible to overcome, we cling to joy. When our children are sick or struggling to obey, we can have joy. When our marriage is in a valley, we have learned we can still have our friend, joy.
My husband taught me, early on, we must remain joyful for the rest of our lives no matter the battle we are facing. Filled with wonderful, marvelous, amazing JOY!
Does that mean we have always passed the test of holding tight to joy during ALL the hard times? Gracious no. Absolutely not. We have both gone through and come out on the other side of depression, trials, and heartache.
Does this mean we can simply say, "I choose joy" and everything be Pollyanna? Nope. I wish it happened to be that easy.
But we can press forward, praying for God's supernatural touch in our situation. We can seek wise counsel from friends, family, or trained professionals. We can make up our minds to only think on things that are noble, good, true and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:1)
We can make changes to our lives that free us up spiritually, physically and emotionally. "God is close to the brokenhearted. He is near the crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)
We have this choice....
....a choice to be grateful, a choice to see the good in a bad situation or person, a choice to praise God during the torrential downpours in life, a choice to pray bold prayers for miracles, a choice to choose and never let anyone or anything steal our JOY!
Dear God, thank you for getting us through the hard times in life. Thank you for being JOY in our lives when we find it difficult to go on. Thank you for being bigger than our circumstances and our earthly situations. We boldly ask for signs and wonders to follow us all the days of our lives as we reach a lost and dying world for you. You are worthy of our praise! In Jesus' joyful name. Amen.