Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. - Psa 42:5 NIV
David, the man quoted above, understood despair, darkness, depression, distress, and desperation. Among some of the suffering of David was betrayal and loss of a child, he knew emotional agony and pain, and he wasn't afraid to take them to the LORD.
There is a song called "You're Gonna Be Ok" by Brian & Jenn Johnson, you can listen to it by clicking the video link at the bottom of this page. The song has become a reminder to me that as long as I trust in the LORD, no matter the trial, I'm going to be okay. If you are going through something that seems impossible, please let the song wash over you.
There is a saying that I have heard often called "the dark night of the soul." If you haven't heard this phrase, you may ask "what is a dark night of the soul?" There’s a reason why dark and night are put together, to express a very difficult time in one’s life — an indescribable pain that cannot be uttered. It may be the hardest time in an individual's life; a season of severe hardship that seems as if it may never end — these dark nights are different for everyone. It is a season where the soul of a person, the mind, will, emotions, and feelings are pressed so hard that one may feel the only way out is to die and another may use some form of escape such as drugs or alcohol to dull the pain. For some, the dark times can become so debilitating that they end up in a mental hospital or commit a crime because of the inability to rationalize and end up in jail. This kind of darkness may even be felt just as it was for the people of Egypt when God was commanding the Pharaoh to let His people go, and he refused (Exo 10:21).
Apostle Paul said of his various dark nights, "8 [We are] hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed"-- - 2Co 4:8-9
The Bible is full of stories of hero's that overcame the darkest seasons of their lives, and for those who did not survive in the flesh, they made it to the other side to enter into Heaven's gates to be with the LORD for eternity.
Paul went on to say, that they were always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. - 2Co 4:10
Paul remembered what Jesus went through and remained steadfast in Christ so that he too could overcome in such dark seasons. God has made people much more resilient than we know. When we overcome life's trials, we have the ability to comfort others that are going through the same things (1Cor 1:4).
Satan is aware of our plights, and he often has his hand in them. He hopes that we will cave in our misery and be found spiritually dried up with nothing to offer another human being going through the same situation. He is a hater, a liar, a manipulator, and an opportunist; he will take any and every opportunity to steal, kill, and destroy a soul!
I have experienced more dark nights than I can even recall anymore, though I have been through a lot of trials as an adult, most of the darkness I experience in my soul is a direct result of the residual effects of a tormented childhood. Our lives as children leave an everlasting impact on the outcome of our adulthood. While almost everyone goes through some kind of trauma as a child, some go through an entire childhood of trauma. If a person doesn't learn to cope with their emotions healthily as a child, they will carry their bad habits, fears, and convictions into adulthood with them. For this reason, many people end up with strongholds or mindsets that keep them from living a life of victory.
Your Past Doesn't Have to Poison Your Future
Restore us, O God; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved! - Psa 80:3
Three times in Psalm 80 the writer cries out for restoration, knowing that God need only look upon them with forgiveness and grace and they would be restored. God is in the restoration business. To restore means to make something like it once was in its original creation. The word of God is loaded with promises of restoration, especially to the Jewish people. These promises are ours as well because we have been grafted into the promised people and as believers in Yeshua (Jesus), we are now partakers of many promises. We are assured that we are also a blessed and chosen people of God whom He desires to keep His covenant blessings.
But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; - 1Pe 2:9
When we choose to walk out our problems with the Lord Jesus Christ, we will eventually walk right out of them; as long as we are walking, we are getting better. Once we have gone through a dark season, we do not need to be defined by it nor does it need to destroy our future. It is crucial that we learn to know, understand, and believe that we are children of God if we believe with our heart, and confess with our mouths Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior we are born again. This belief gives us a new identity, and we learn to walk in freedom from who we once were. Nothing we have ever done or anything that has been done to us should define who we are; absolutely nothing!
Some of the sins in a person’s past that cause them to struggle with their “new man” creation or identity are divorce, adultery, bankruptcy, abortion, various sexual sins, depression, abuse, death, illness, and rejection. These are just a few things that become stigmas to our image causing us to be crippled emotionally, but none of these are identities, they are problems whose solution is Jesus.
But, you say “you don’t know what I have done or what’s been done to me!” God says, “It doesn’t matter, it’s going to be okay.” Why? Because you believe on the only name that can take your pain and restore your past, Jesus Christ. Everything we ever need that pertains to life and godliness is given to us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ who has called us by glory and goodness (2Pe 1:3)!
There is Hope in the Dark
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Ps 30:5
One thing I find most helpful when times of oppression have arrived is to write the Scriptures out in praise, prayer, supplication, or request to the Father. Doing this takes work, but it will take your mind off the problem and put it on to the One who can solve the problem. The following is an example to help you get started.
Heavenly Father, like a deer pants for the water, so my soul thirsts for You. Today, in the darkness of my soul I am reminded by Your word to be of good courage, and put my hope in You knowing You will strengthen my heart. I know that Your eye is on me and my situation because I fear You and my hope is in Your mercy. I shall praise Your holy name for You alone are my support in times of trouble. I rise in the morning before the dawn of day and cry for help, putting my hope in Your word. I know and keep Your commandments because Your face is always before me. Therefore, I will hope continually on the Lord and not forget His previous works in my life. In Jesus name, Amen (Taken from various Psalms)