When You Are In Despair And Need Something To Hold On To
Somewhere along the many miles of southern California shoreline walked a young, 20-year-old woman with a terminal disease in her body and a revolver in her hand.
She had called me late one evening. We talked for a long time. A troubled young woman, her mind was filled with doubts. She had advanced leukemia. The doctors told her she would not live much longer. She checked herself out of a hospital because, as she put it, she “couldn’t take another day of that terrible isolation.”
Her husband had left her.
Her two-month-old daughter had recently died.
Her best friend had been killed in an auto accident.
Her life was broken. She’d run out of hope.
She and I spoke calmly and quietly about what was happening. I did a lot of listening. There were periods when there was silence on the phone for thirty to forty-five seconds. I didn’t know where she was. I still don’t know her full name. She spoke of taking her husband’s revolver and going out on the beach to finish it all. She asked me a lot of questions about suicide.
In what seemed an inappropriate moment . . . I felt peace, a total absence of panic. I had no fear that she would hang up and take her life. I simply spoke very, very quietly about her future. I made no special promise that she would immediately be healed. I knew that she might not live much longer, as her doctors were talking to her in terms of a very few weeks—perhaps days. I spoke to her about Christ and the hope He could provide. After a sigh and with an ache that was obvious, she hung up.
Thirty minutes later my phone rang again. It was the same young woman. She had a friend who was a nurse, who used to come to our church. The nurse had given her a New Testament in which she had written my name and phone number and had said, “If you really are in deep need, I think he will understand.” By the way, the nurse—her closest friend—was the one who had been killed in the auto accident. She had nothing to cling to from that friendship but memories and this Testament. She read from it.
I said, “What does that little Book say to you?”
“Well, I think the first part of it is biography and the last part is a group of letters that explain how to do what’s in that biography.” (That’s a good analysis of the New Testament.)
I said, “Have you done that?” And she had called back to say, “Yes, I’ve done that. I decided, Chuck, that I would, without reservation, give myself to Jesus Christ. I’m still afraid; I still have doubts. I still don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring, but I want you to know that I have turned my life over to Jesus, and I’m trusting Him through this. He has given me new hope . . . the one thing I really needed.”
It’s very possible that someone reading these words right now feels the very same way. You’re thinking thoughts that you have never entertained before, and you’re thinking them more often and more seriously. Without trying to use any of the clichés on you, I would say that this hope Christ can bring is the only way through. I have no answer other than Jesus Christ. I can’t promise you healing, nor can I predict that your world will come back right side up. But I can promise you He will receive you as you come in faith to Him. And He will bring back the hope you need so desperately. The good news is this: That hope will not only get you through this particular trial, it will ultimately take you into God’s presence when you die because you have received the gift of eternal life through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ your Lord.