By Al Behel
A teenager took a rope and hanged himself in the family’s shed, depressed about his relationship with his girlfriend. A two year old is beaten with belts, her head repeatedly dunked into cold bath water, and is thrown to the floor because she doesn’t consistently say “please” and “thank you.” She dies from her injuries.
These examples of troubled hearts are extreme, but frightening familiar. Most people don’t take their frustrations out in such violent ways. They may become depressed, have difficulty sleeping, eat too much, or turn to substance abuse to numb the pain. They may react in anger or internalize their stress. They are still very troubled, nonetheless. They have lost their sense of balance and meaning.
We are told that everyone has a breaking point though few of us reach it. We ask how it could happen and why we didn’t see it coming. Could we have prevented it? What would have made a difference in the outcome? King David found the answer when he confronted his own enemies. He said, “In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears” (Psalms 18:6). He went on to tell of God’s powerful response in delivering him.
Depression and despair that is borne of anger is like a brain cancer that eats away our peace. David continued, “Yea, you light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness” (18:28). The darkness of despair is made bright as day when we place our confidence in God. Unfortunately, many people never come to know the peace God provides.
Where do you go when you are discouraged or troubled in heart? Do you turn to destructive actions or become bitter? Or do you sit quietly and call on the Lord? Do you lift Him up in your heart and listen to His voice? He will lift you up.
- Al Behel preaches for the Great Smoky Mountains Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://greatsmokymountainschurchofchrist.com/