In the Hand of God

The gun felt heavy in my hand. There were guns in the house all my life. They didn’t scare me; I respected them. Nursing gunshots victims in the hospital emergency room made me well aware of the effects. There is no small caliber when it comes to the damage a shell does to the human body. I knew enough anatomy to place one shot to inflict the most damage. Then I need only avoid medical care so that my efforts were successful.

I thought the physical pain would be easier to bear than my emotional pain. New Year’s Eve was always a difficult night. Our family did little to celebrate. We didn’t sit up for the ball to fall in Times Square, we didn’t attend parties or a church service.  It was a day to work on year end books and argue about how much charitable giving we would do. Giving was to affect the bottom line of taxes, not concern for the people the money would help.

In a house shared with my husband and two small children, I felt horribly alone. I was craving companionship and a feeling of being cherished, but that was not the case. I refused to go outside my marriage vows to find someone who would treat me differently.

As I laid in bed listening to a radio program, I tried to compare my situation to the homeless man’s testimony to prove I had nothing to complain about. He had encountered a business failure which led to depression and living on the streets of Chicago. Outside the Mission, the music and smell of food drew him inside. The preacher was reading Jesus words in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He admitted what burdens he carried and how he was weary mentally and emotionally. He believed that Jesus took the punishment for all his sin that had brought him to this moment. He became a new creation with the Holy Spirit in his life to help and guide.

I had made that decision many years ago, yet I often fell back into the dark hole chronic child abuse had created in my heart.  I read a story of a young child awakened in the night who cried out in fear of the thunderstorm raging outside his bedroom window. His father rushed in to comfort him. “You don’t need to be afraid. Jesus is with you.” With tears glistening on his small cheeks, the lad replied, “I know that, Dad. I need a Jesus with skin on.”

In my dark mood, I wanted my husband to be Jesus with skin on, to take me in his arms, tell me I had value, that things would look better tomorrow. But I was wrong to look to man for those kinds of assurances. My worth is from God and His faithfulness never changes.

It had to be God who woke my husband up that night and caused him to walk into the hallway where I sat up against the wall with the gun barrel leaning on my chest. He took the gun out of my hands, told me to go to bed, put the gun back in the gun cabinet and returned to sleep.

Even as I lay in a fetal position, sobbing uncontrollably, the voice of the Holy Spirit pushed into my mind and said: “Give me this pain to bear, get your rest. We will face the new year together.”

M.L Haskins wrote, “I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’”

Dear reader, if you are considering making this your last year, please tell someone. Don’t believe the lies that you’re alone and there’s not a single person that cares about you. Cry out to God. Tell him you are broken-hearted. Ask him to fill your heart with his love and with confidence that you can go into the new year holding his hand. I pray you find peace. (I would be privileged to talk with you by email)