Among my works of 2010, the articles that address anxiety or bitterness rank number one in reader views. It makes no difference which article submission site I check. My articles that deal with the healing of anxiety or the deliverance from bitterness of heart are actually viewed three to one over any of my other materials. This prompts me to dig deeper into this phenomena.
Is this society really so deeply troubled by feelings of depression, fear, and rage? Are none at peace? Has bitterness conquered the majority?
These are serious questions that should stir the heartbeat of America. What segments of our society are most affected by this devastating rash of mental illness? Is the problem really mental? Could it be that our suffering is a direct result of the spiritual decay that is consuming our nation?
I have my answer to these questions, but those of you who do not have a personal relationship with the risen Christ may proclaim that I am biased. You would be correct. No one who truly experiences the indwelling of the living God can continue to walk in the blindness that has consumed this nation. So yes, my answer to these devilish assaults of anxiety and bitterness that have accumulated upon the people of this nation is a simple, direct, and biased knowledge that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.
Not Just Unbelievers
Would that I could convince every unbeliever to come to the salvation that is only found through faith in Jesus Christ. But that is not possible. Many are called but few are chosen. I do not gloat over this. No, rather than gloat, I sorrow for I too once walked in the great void of darkness.
The greatest opposition to the statements I am about to pronounce will come from those who are caught in the webs of bitterness and anxiety that so often hinder the ears of faith. I am not here to argue with you. If it is your desire to remain in mental and emotional distress, to be addicted drugs that hide the problem but never heal the problem, and to be forever trapped by the sense of hopelessness that each pill brings to mind, then remain there. I cannot deliver you. I rejoice that I am chosen, and I plea that you too will heed the call.
There is, however, a group of people that I can help. Some believe in the God of all power, but they have stumbled into the pits of the unbelievers. To you, I present a personal story, and a certain truth that God is faithful to His words, even to the weak in heart and the faltering in faith.
Personal Battle With Anxiety
The year was 2002. I was in Hillsboro County jail awaiting trial. This was a sometimes-crowded jail, occasionally housing as many as sixteen inmates within a space designed for ten. The days were filled with foolish TV-based dating shows and the CNN news broadcasts. The one reeked with the filth of a society without morals; the later rolled past hour by hour with the same stories and details over, and over, and over again.
The inmates played cards. From sunup until sundown, and then from sundown until sunup, they stood and slammed cards to the table. Each falling card was accompanied by what seemed an endless barrage of foul and corruptive language. I know that it was a part of their nature, yet knowledge cannot ease the harshness of such crude words. I have never been prone to cursing, never thought it necessary, and even when lost I disliked the sound of such crudeness. Now, it seems that the taking of God’s name in vain has become the most popular choice of foulness.
I do not know the state of every man who has broken the law, but for myself, there was a terrible sense of shame and helplessness. I am a caring husband and father. For thirty years of married life, I lived and did those things that seemed right toward home and family. Therefore the awareness of my crime against my family was near to overwhelming my senses. Insanity threatened to breach the containers of my mind.
I had no external victims, no physical contacts of any sort, but rather an imagination that ended in an unbelievable state of hurt and pain for my wife, my children, and myself. It is tormenting to know that you alone bear the full burden of guilt. There was no one to blame, no one to fight.
I could not sleep in that cage. I often sat with my head beneath the covers, reading God’s word, and seeking to hold fast to my sanity. On the far wall, near the locked iron gates, was a button that enables inmates to contact the distant guards. Something within my flesh wanted so much to press that button, to find assistance amid the strength of my capturers.
Satan would whisper, and tell me that relief was in that button. “Merely call the guards,” he would say. “Tell them that you are going to kill yourself. They will put you in a hospital and give you something that will let you sleep.”
Oh but then the voice of God would intervene. “You cannot call upon man,” He would say. “I am your strength and your provider, your deliver. Permit me the freedom, and I will make both your mind and your spirit strong.”
So the button would wait, an eternal temptation, and the TV would blare, and the men would play cards and chase them with the unending blast of filth and cursing. For days it went on. I slept very little, and in end I went three days and three nights without finding even a moment of sleep and rest.
So I set myself to push that button on the wall. I spoke to God. I told him that I could not endure any longer. I must sleep or my mind would surely disintegrate within my skull. I will push that button, I told Him. I will seek the help of men, for within me there is no more strength for fighting. Now is my greatest hour of need. Now is when I must feel the power of your ministering spirits.
He has promised that He will put upon us no more than what we can endure. Every trial must come to an end. This is God’s word, for weeping may endure for the night but joy will come in the morning.
I remember that moment with all clarity. I removed the covers from head. Midway across the cell, a tall, lean, black man was slamming a card to the table. Curses were spewing from his lips. In the background, the TV rattled out sounds of two men and one woman alone in a camper. And suddenly,
silence fell across my ears. The long, lean man’s mouth continued to move, but no sound touch my ears. I glanced toward the TV. The people were talking, but I heard not a peep.
I cannot explain it, but it really happened. In the mist of that cell, surrounded by concrete walls and iron bars, my God stood true to his word. I did not go insane. I did not seek human help.
I did lay my head upon my pillow and sleep amid the power of a supernatural silence.