A Holy Spirit Story: From Suicidal Despair to Rising Joy

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Psalm 86:1–8 (NIV)

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.
You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.

CONSIDER THIS

“The Spirit of Jesus in me greets the Spirit of Jesus in you and brings us together in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.”

This Holy Spirit story was shared by a Daily Text reader with a request for complete anonymity in order to avoid identifying any persons in her immediate community. It is shared with complete permission and yet with respectful sensitivity. It is powerful. Let’s remember our chant:

Everywhere the River flows everything will live. (clap)
Everywhere the River flows everything will live. (clap)
Everywhere the River flows everything will live. (clap)

Late one Friday night in mid-May I received a call from the husband of a friend of mine. He was out of town for the weekend on business and, with understandable alarm, said he had just talked with his wife, and she had told him that she felt like she needed to call the Suicide Hotline. Would I please go over to their house and see her? Obviously, I said yes.

The truth is that at the time she was not a particularly close friend, I had never been to her house, and I certainly had never been part of a situation quite like this. (Later, she asked her husband how he knew to call me, and his answer was “God”.)

Thus, it was with much prayer for wisdom and discernment that I drove to their house to be with her and get some assurance of her well-being and safety. I stayed until the wee hours of the morning, talking and praying with her until I felt it safe to leave her alone with her two young children.

Challenging job circumstances had, over the course of many months, increasingly led to despair, shame, loss of self-worth, and ultimately a state of serious depression. Over the next few days, I remained in close contact with her and was able to encourage her to seek professional medical help and counseling—all of which the Lord graciously provided quickly, despite normally long wait times for appointments.

The close daily contact quickly led to a much deeper friendship and a discipleship relationship that has been life-changing over the ensuing weeks and months. There are numerous ways in which the Lord has brought about healing in my friend’s life, but I will share one example that relates specifically to the Daily Text. Back in early January, Daily Text readers were encouraged to pick a verse or passage of Scripture to memorize and meditate on throughout the year. I chose Psalm 86, a psalm of lament. As I recall, readers were also encouraged to share their chosen passage with another person in a back-and-forth manner of reciting (or texting) the verses.

Since January, I attempted such a shared format with at least three other people, but despite my efforts, any ongoing partnership simply never got off the ground. I had the sense that the lack of enthusiasm was because of the less-than-uplifting nature of the opening verses of the psalm, and I accepted that the words of lament were perhaps meant for my own personal trials at the time. I now know I was led to that psalm not only for my own personal benefit but because it offered the words my friend desperately needed as she cried out to God during her darkest days. She started reading and saying verses 1–8 over and over to herself, and we began texting the verses back and forth in the format suggested by the Daily Text.

While at times my friend still deals with some of the emotional aftermath of her experience, she nevertheless has continued to make progress in counseling and has taken appropriate steps to address the job situation. (In fact, the Lord has graciously opened up a wonderful new position for her!)

Importantly, however, the depression and despair are for the most part gone and have been replaced by a joy in the Lord that could only come from a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit! Moreover, the Lord has done a powerful work in her spiritually. She has told me repeatedly that the Lord has replaced her desires for worldly things with a deep hunger for all things related to God and his Word. She is full of thoughts and questions inspired by her reading of the Bible and other devotional material, despite never having stuck with any sort of daily devotional time previously in her life.

Referring to the Daily Text content of the last few weeks, she recently told me, “As I learn about collapsing the triangle I feel that is what happened that night [back in mid-May]. God intended to rescue me and you spoke Jesus to me by the power of the Holy Spirit. [You told me] that I was loved and that I would get through it. It was very powerful on one of the worst days of my life.”

As for Psalm 86 (which we now affectionately refer to as “our psalm” and have now memorized), my dear friend and I have moved beyond the first eight verses, and together we rejoice in the Lord’s great salvation. Now I text the opening of v.13, “For great is your steadfast love toward me,” and her joyous testimony is summarized as she replies: “You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Still day one. 

THE PRAYER

God our Father, who with your son Jesus Messiah, fills us with the Holy Spirit, thank you for the miracle and the mystery of the day of Pentecost. And thank you for today, and that it is only the day after. Thank you for this River Story of the working of the Holy Spirit through this precious agent of Jesus. May her tribe increase. And bless her dear friend with ever increasing joy in the Holy Spirit. Thank you for this beautiful testimony. Holy Spirit would you increase our faith to do likewise. Praying in your name, Jesus, amen. 

THE QUESTION

Do you know of anyone in a similar situation as was told in this story? Do you tend to let your feeling of being ill-equipped keep you from walking into the midst of it? Does this story increase your faith to head down river? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. Isaiah 6:6-8
    6 Then, one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
    8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
    We must be on call, for the Lord will call upon us.
    Are you ready?
    Yes, here I am! Send me.

  2. That story is a beautiful and inspiring example of heading down river in the kingdom of God.

    Beyond human politics
    There’s an invisible kingdom,
    A government that is from
    Beyond this world
    And seeks to end
    The widespread rebellion
    Inside human beings
    And to bring restoration
    And peace of mind
    To all who will
    Surrender fully to its authority.
    It’s not aligned with governments
    That demand outward compliance
    And rule by laws
    But have no power
    To change human hearts.
    “The kingdom of God
    Is within you.”
    Is it ruling inside of you?
    Are you obeying
    Its resurrected King and Lord?
    Or are you following
    Your own desires
    And rebelling against it?

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