Eventually, I reached a portion of the email in which my reader said “thoughts of suicide entered my mind each day – every day. Earlier this year, the pain became so intense that I knew that I would either have to find my way back to Christ, or I would have to die.” That was alarming but I kept on reading. I’m glad I did.
The reader continued, “I would have to return to His Word. However, the Bible seemed to weigh a thousand pounds, and I could neither lift it nor open it. Exacerbating this situation was the fact that I realized that I was a coward; I was afraid because the world has become increasingly and vehemently hostile to Christians and Christianity. I knew that reaffirming and declaring faith in Christ would make me a target of the same hatred, ridicule, and scorn I had heaped on others, and I wasn’t ready for it.”
My reader then informed me that, in the midst of his depression, on the brink of suicide, he came across a column I had written. For some reason, he thought that something I said somehow took courage. So he started working backwards through my column archive. Eventually, he read the column referencing 1 John and your sermon that had inspired it. He ended his letter saying that was the very day he found the strength to pick up his Bible and start his journey in the Word anew.
He continued reading his Bible every day. The Book that once “seemed to weigh a thousand pounds” became light as a feather. As he continued to read, his thoughts of suicide disappeared. They were replaced with a burning desire to live again and to walk in the light of forgiveness.
As I read that man’s letter, I realized that it had been a very long time since I told you what your words did for me in my darkest hour. I hope you will forgive me as I am still seeing what those words have done - not just for me, but through me. I am beginning to understand what John meant when he said “What we will be has not yet appeared.”
The ripple effect that flows from our words and from our actions extends far beyond the reach of human perception. It will not be fully revealed until we reach the other side. That is why we need the Word to lift us out of our desperation and move us beyond our present circumstances. It helps reveal the only Light that can lead us out of darkness.