It will not be often that we will post a letter from a man on this site, but when I read this one, knowing the spiritual struggle that our Board Member Joseph has been through in the last few months, I felt compelled to post this for all of you to read.
It doesn’t matter how long our walk with the Lord has been, when testing times come, we need to support and pray for our fellow believers, knowing that our God is faithful to perform His Word in our lives. I also know that there are those of you that are struggling in a similar manner and that this letter can encourage you to continue on until the breakthrough comes.
I want to thank him for giving his permission to print this letter, in the hopes it will help and encourage another pilgrim in the walk we are on.
Reylene van Geldern
Letter from Joseph Bias
I have today come through what some might call a “dark night of the soul.” Except this night persisted for nearly three months. It was more a season of every darkening degrees of night. No matter what I did I could not seem to pull my self out of it. What was I doing wrong? How was I causing my life to spiral down so relentlessly?
I thought back to the last time I remembered experiencing joy and was full of hopeful expectation. It was when I set a point in the future for my life to be at a certain place. I anticipated when that happened I would be even more ecstatic and somehow empowered because my dream would have come to fulfillment. But it didn’t happen. So I started making compromises and taking desperate measures to prop up my hopeful expectations, thinking all the while I just needed to give it a little more time. But it still did not happen so I started to become anxious.
When I became anxious for the future my anxiety gave place to the devil and he used the occasion to rob me of my peace, my joy and ultimately my hope. Hope differed makes the heart sick but hope lost is the seed of despair, despondency and dejection. When these combine they are a perfect recipe for self-destructive behavior or acting out in ways that are not profitable. It was like a drug that altered my total perspective on life. I felt valueless, insignificant, un-loved and desperately alone and lonely.
It was a darkness of life that I had never known either before or sense I made my confession of faith in Jesus Christ. I thought I was a mature Christian. I thought I knew what to do. So I did what I thought was the sure way to be free from this. I prayed more, confessed more, gave more, did self-evaluations daily to see that I was walking in love, acceptance and forgiveness. But nothing changed. Things only got worse. Through it all I kept doing things I didn’t want to do. Not doing things I wanted to do. I still continued in what I could do spiritually but without much expectation and all the while crying out from inside, “Lord, help me. Please!”
Now, consider Jesus, who knew and experienced everything I was going through and never gave in to sin, never doubted His Father’s love or care for Him, never succumbed to temptation. But I did all these things, I gave into sin, I doubted God’s love, I succumbed to temptation.
Then today, God sent His answer to me through the voice of a friend, a brother in the Lord, who spoke the heart of God, fresh and new into my spirit. The love of God spoke to me today and said what I believe he would say to you also today. He speaks with the voice of the friend who embraces you at the deepest core of your being, and says,
“I understand your struggle. I understand your frailty. I understand when you miss the mark and fall short of the glory and I love you, and you are forgiven. I am with you and I will sustain you and deliver you. You are going to make it. Nothing of all that I have for you has been lost or will be lost, and all that your adversary has stolen from you will be restored and more. There is no need for despair because you have lost no ground. There is no need for despondency because you have lost no gift or reward. My grace is able to sustain you and you will see and receive the desires of your heart. Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. And in me you have overcome the world. Rejoice today and embrace renewed hope, restored peace, and reaffirmed expectation of good.
You have not failed me, you have not disappointed me, I am not ashamed of you or ashamed to call you my son, (my daughter), my friend. I know your heart. And it is a heart of love for Me and for the Father. I know, because I put that heart in you. There is therefore no condemnation for you because you are in me and you walk after My spirit, not after your flesh. Your temporary season of struggles and trials is ended. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. YOU ARE LOVED!”
I felt the presence of the Lord all around me in that moment. And I have sensed a great burden lifted.
I still face the possibility of falling back into the darkness but now and each day, each moment I choose not to. The physical circumstances have not changed but I do now have some hope. The message of the gospel is still that this life is not the end of the story. So, what ever we do not gain here we do have hope of finding in the new day, the new life, the eternal life.
The hardest part of this struggle here is the loneliness. Not that I am alone. In many ways I am surrounded by people, dear people. But loneliness is an inward void that can only be satisfied by the one(s) uniquely comprised to fill it. I understand more now why people (actors, famous people, the rich, the beautiful, the handsome, who seem to have the world by the tail) can have all the adulation and applause any one could desire and yet they are still not satisfied because that one they want most to appreciate them is not heard from. Clearly I do not consider my self in that category of rarified glitterati but the feelings are the same whether you’re a factory worker or a billionaire, a maid or a King. May be they have no one to direct their love to. Maybe they do, but there is no reciprocation so they feel disconnected, purposeless. Yet all around them there may be those who would reach out to them if they only knew how. And that is where the rest of the struggle lies. We are complicated beings. We don’t know how to reach out and when we do we run the risk that we will be only further burdened by unrealistic or unattainable expectation, so we remain closed, guarded and tentative with others.
We all sometimes (or all the time) have passions, and hopes and dreams that cannot be expressed and may never be fulfilled, even if we think they are fundamental to our well being. So, we must focus on what we do have and find our fulfillment in the limit of what is offered. Considering the alternative, we are still richly blessed. In His measureless love I would not be surprised if God has more to reveal concerning these things. For now, I will rest in the measure of His grace that I know.
Father God, I thank you for Your love and your faithfulness. Thank You for Jesus. Thank You, Jesus for Your love and faithfulness. Thank You Father for sending the Holy Spirit and thank You, Holy Spirit for never leaving me or forsaking me. In the precious and wonderful name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.