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I’m writing this letter after a pretty busy time of the year. Last weekend I worked both Saturday and Sunday as well as the week before and the week I’m in now. I think the tiredness and all the stress of trying to get things done when I have no time got the better of me. Over the last few days I haven’t been feeling my best all round (spiritual and emotional) and went into one of those black pits we so often find ourselves in. I felt depressed and paranoid and hurt those around me I care about. It was as though I was no longer in control of how I acted and handled situations. I kept crying a lot and just felt there was a dead weight upon my whole being. How I got to this stage, I guess, was through sins I didn’t kill and kept doing ie feeding lustful thoughts, spending little time with God and just trying to handle life on my own. I think all the work and stress just brought it to a head and I went down and stayed there. I took my eyes off God and looked to my own action for answers. I stopped trusting in the one who runs the whole universe, I didn’t give Him the time I should be aching to spend with Him and just got on with a superficial existence. It got to the stage last night where I couldn’t sleep after dreams fuelled by my paranoia woke me up at 5am. I was at the end of my tether and lay in bed crying out to my Lord, asking for peace and release, I needed to be safe and secure in Him again, I couldn’t cope with the world without Him. I couldn’t sleep so I started listening to the new EXTOL album, ‘Undeceived’ to try to stop all my thoughts. The words from the end of the same song, ‘My dear child, come to Me, I will restore you and embrace you with My love’ touched me deeply and gave me hope in the darkness. I ached to be restored to God’s love, safe in the knowledge that I was in His arms. I tried to focus on Heaven and the fact that one day I will be with Him, in His presence forever. I needed to trust my life to Him again and let go of my pain and insecurity. Then I got a picture in my head of myself lying down with lots of balloons, in a row, tied to my side by bits of string. Each balloon represented a different pain or burden that was weighing me down. They all filled me with blackness and I couldn’t move or function properly while they were taking up all my concentration. I cried out to God and each balloon string was cut and they flew up to Him one by one. As they went the burden lifted, I felt free and released. He takes our burdens on Himself and leaves us with His peace. We need to be nothing first though. After this I managed to get back to sleep until my alarm rudely awakened me at 7:30am. I did my bible study for the day over breakfast, as I knew it needed to be done if I were to get my head sorted out. The verses I was up to were John 14 v1-3, a promise from Jesus himself that we don’t need to worry as we have an eternity waiting with Him. He promises to come back and take us to this eternal dwelling with Him. Just the same reassurance I had received earlier on that night when I couldn’t sleep. He reminded me of Heaven and that He’s in control – we have eternity with Him to look forward to. Just as if to make sure I didn’t miss the point someone else read the same verses from John in the church I went to in the evening. God does have a sense of humour! He answered my cry and restored me to Himself and reminded me of what I had forgotten. This is of course the same thing that each of us who trust Him are promised. Check it out for yourself in John. I praise Him for His patience with me and the way He has never let me go. However far from Him I feel I know He is there, He is always there, He can never not be there. He is my rock and my salvation, my redeemer and comforter. He is in control of all, even the hard times. It is in these times when I often find myself wrecked and aching for His comfort the most. When I rely on myself and push Him away He is no longer my Lord – I am my lord, but my kingdom is worthless. I can’t manage anything that will give me lasting happiness away from God. I guess God’s wisdom is more than mine (understatement of the year!), He uses times when we feel down and far away from Him to reassure us of His love and patience and grace. He uses other times as well I know, so don’t lets go and try to be depressed so you can ‘feel God’. God’s love is constant, everything about Him is, it’s only us that change and realise things at different times. When we are down don’t loose hope though or give up the fight, remember God’s promises, remember that He does want to restore us and will, we need to come to Him humbly and sometimes He will make us humble so we come back to Him. Never give up hope, whatever happens on this world, Jesus IS coming back to take us to be with Him and His Father, forever. Nothing can take that away. Whatever the pain we have a sure hope, let’s never forget that. It took me the hard way to remember it but God is faithful and didn’t let me go. He never will.