Here I go again; I’m sticking my neck out, but I said that I was slowly going to tell you more, and today is as good a day as any. It’s important in fact.
A certain person will know that by now, if it’s a good day, I’d have put out quite a few blogs about the injustices and the state of our country and the world. Today, I’m just doing this blog, because I feel that it’s needed.
Sometimes it’s hard to know how to respond to people who are in a desperate state. When people suggest counseling or CBT, my argument has always been ‘but if the extreme environment that caused such feelings remains, how is a person supposed to recover?’
I’ll never forget a ‘tip’ I was given concerning my problems: look into the sky; pin a problem on each cloud; watch as the problems float away. My reply was: ‘Okay, see that big cloud there? That’s called ‘breakfast’; see that other one? That’s dinner. The last one there is called ‘tea’, because I had nothing to eat yesterday, and I’ve nothing in to eat today either’. I needed food, so no amount of talking was going to solve that problem (this was before food banks, but our nearest one now is 3 miles away, and I couldn’t have walked it due to health problems).
We might think prayer is of little value either. I never forget in my young days as an 18 year old single parent, I got into severe financial trouble when a pickpocket stole the money that I’d put aside for a large electricity bill (the flat was electrically heated). The DHSS (Department of Health and Social Security, or lovingly named by me as the Department of Hell and Social [In]security), allowed the electricity board to take ALL of my income support each week as payment; I was only left with my child benefit, and it wasn’t enough to live on.
I called the local catholic priest for some help (I was a lapsed catholic, but still on their books), and he duly came to speak to me. I thought he was going to help, give me some money for some food perhaps, but all he did was pray with me. What was quite funny about the experience was that I’d been watching the races on the TV, and while he prayed, I still had one eye on it! I might have been a bit more sincere had the priest helped me. I think it was one of the last 3 times I approached a priest, other than to ask one of them to remove me from their register, which they wouldn’t any way, and to point out to 2 others that what the catholic church taught wasn’t correct, which they both agreed!
Back to the counseling, it can help you see things in a different way, and I’ve had some useful sessions with people as well as followed a free CBT course online a number of times ( best one: https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome), but if you’re hungry, you remain hungry. To turn to God for help seems almost laughable in this day and age, and some people are so self critical that they feel that they couldn’t bring themselves to pray for help.
Let’s just say that both the first and second sentences have applied to me in the past, and still apply to me today, and not just me of course. I’m 52 now, and I’ve had to go without food many times since I was that 18 year old girl, and faced terrible things besides since, but not all bad of course. And I’m not making out that I’ve been pious during that period either; I’ve made many serious mistakes, many things that I’m ashamed of and can’t forgive myself for, which have made me feel like I just couldn’t pray, but I always did. I also swore badly 4 times before breakfast yesterday and I’ve said ‘bloody’ twice today!.
On a serious note though, a few weeks ago – and not for the first time – I asked God to kill me: what a terrible thing for a person to say! I said that I was sorry the next day, but that doesn’t change what I said, that I basically wanted to die, because I was in that darkest of places and there seemed no way out: I may have come through things in the past, but right now for a great number of us, we just don’t know what’s going to happen next, and I feel so very ill sometimes that living doesn’t seem an option any more.
When I get like this, I remember when I was first reading the scriptures, a few particular verses hit home, especially when I found out who the author was:
Yahweh is near to those that are
broken in heart;
And those who are crushed in
spirit he saves.
(Psalm 34 vs 19)
The sacrifices to God are a broken spirit;
A heart broken and crushed O God,
you will not despise.
(Psalm 51 vs 17)
Why did that person feel like this? He says this a lot in the Psalms, but here are two that stuck with me:
I have grown weary with my sighing;
All night long I make my couch swim;
With my tears I make my own divan overflow.
(Psalm 6 vs 6)
For my transgressions I myself know;
And my sin is in front of me constantly.
(Psalm 51 vs 3)
During his life, the author, King David, committed adultery, then set up the husband of his mistress so that he would die. He a few times trusted in himself instead of God, Yahweh, and more people died. Yet, hard to believe, but Yahweh forgave him. He didn’t always prevent the consequences of those bad things happening however, in fact King David was desperate in some of the versus above because he was facing the consequences of sin. He was genuinely sorry though, and Yahweh could see into his heart, his desperation, and forgive him because he humbled himself.
Jesus told a story about 2 people who prayed:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee [supposedly holy] and the other a tax collector [tax collectors were despised in Israel]. The Pharisee stood and began to pray these things to himself, ‘O God, I thank you I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I five the tenth of all things I acquire.’ But the tax collector standing at a distance was not willing even to raise his eyes heavenward, but kept beating his breast, saying, ‘O God, be gracious to me a sinner.’
I tell you, This man [the tax collector] went down to his home proved more righteous than that man; because everyone who exalts himself will be humiliated, but he that humbles himself will be exalted.”
Just after I wrote the parable above, I had watched Chunky Mark’s monologue (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV2j5OTkXdI), about the disgraceful behaviour of Cameron and his M.P.s, laughing and mocking again – putting the bully boy faces on with folded arms – when Corbyn was explaining how he received an email from ‘Kelly,’. Kelly – who works part time and has a disabled son – will lose £1800 when the tax credit changes are implemented in April 2016. I was wondering which person Cameron represented in the above parable? The humble tax collector or the pharisee…though, it is not for us to judge.
King David back in Israel did some terrible things then on and off throughout his life, premised by some terrible thoughts no doubt, but he still prayed, and God not only stuck to him like glue, but promised him a ruling position in the Kingdom that is prayed for in the ‘Lord’s Prayer’, and he inspired him to write the Book of Psalms, for which David has been famous for throughout history. King David was nearly always humble in his dealing though, and especially towards God.
I’m the tax collector category above by the way but worse: I’m not at the back of the temple; I always say to Yahweh that I’m not even worthy to put my foot on the road that leads to the temple, never mind stand at the back!
But here’s the thing – and it’s not an excuse, it’s an observation. We were never meant to live in the world that we see today with all its horrors, all the pressure to do wrong. Now we find that evil has come to knock on our own doors in the UK too; things we never thought imaginable. No wonder then we all slip from time to time, lose our tempers, say and think things that we shouldn’t, maybe fall into more serious levels of bad behaviour on occasion.
God does understand. He knows the evil that we are facing and He knows we are going to fall from time to time. He also knows that satan wants to use us as some kind of evidence against him (as explained in the book of Job). Most of all, He wants us to turn to him, no matter how bad we think we’ve been.
You might ask why he allows all of this in the first place, but be assured that what is happening in this world is not God’s will. I won’t say any more since it’s too much information for one sitting, and I will speak more about satan at another time, but more than anything, and especially when we’re desperate, God whose name is Yahweh, wants to hear from us, even if we’ve sinned (though the scriptures say that ‘ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’). Just ask a prayer in Jesus’ name, in humility, and Jesus says that God his Father will hear us. There may be no magic wand for now, but I can guarantee that if you keep asking, something changes, such that we can bear it (I never did go that hungry for long you know, but I’ve been ill for 20 years!).
God doesn’t live in churches, but in the hearts of people when he gives them his Spirit.
Don’t despair and let evil win, and yes, YOU are important, you’re problems are NOT insignificant: to God, even ‘the very hairs of your head are numbered’ (Matthew 10 vs 30).