On November 9, 2018, two days after my birthday, I was involved in a car wreck in which my Hyundai Elantra flipped upside down and slammed into a the side of a ditch. As a result, I fractured my sternum and broke vertebra in my back. By God’s grace and mercy I didn’t need surgery, but I was very close to it. If the protruding vertebrae had hit the spinal cord . . . well, the injury could have been much worse.
Laying in a hospital bed racking up medical bills wasn’t a good way to celebrate a birthday.
If you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel or a regular reader here, then you know that I deal with depression. Between the wreck, injury, medical bills, lost pay, and the impact on my family, it was a recipe for sinking deep into depression.
But God . . .
I love that phrase, “But God.”
But God provided me encouragement, hope, and a different perspective. Yes, I was frustrated and worried. Yes, I struggled with my emotions. However, God didn’t let me go into a deep depression.
I experienced his grace and love in three ways, and this helped me not become depressed, and I believe will do the same for you.
First, God helped me through his word.
At times, it seemed I was reading out of habit or obligation. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit used the Scriptures to remind me that God is merciful, compassionate, and is there, and that I just needed to focus on Jesus.
Second, God helped me through others.
My church family at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship prayed for me. They also went out of their way to provide food for my family. Why do I say, “out of their way”? You see, I don’t live in the church’s neighborhood, but I live 30-40 minutes away, yet they came all the way out to bring us food. The church also found ways to help my family in many other ways emotionally, physically, and financially.
Furthermore, my boss, Shari, continued to challenge me, encourage me, advise me, and even call me out when I was being stubborn or letting emotions drag me down. I needed that.
My family at home — my wife, kids, and in-laws — also rallied. Olivia took up the slack with managing the bills and doing the housework I couldn’t do. The kids were gentle and patient. My in-laws came out from California to Texas (where we live) to help out with recovery, and they even helped us replace the Hyundai.
Yes, God had people in place — family — to help me not sink into depression.
Third, God answered prayers with a “Yes.”
Sometimes we think that God doesn’t answer prayers when his answer was a “no” or “not now.” For me, God answered many of my prayers with a “Yes!”
- I prayed not to have surgery. No surgery needed.
- I prayed for my family to be financially okay. We are. We’re not rich, but we didn’t go bankrupt.
- I prayed to be able to sleep. Although I didn’t get a lot of time sleeping, I did get enough rest despite the pain.
One early morning, I developed the hiccups. Now, with a fractured sternum, each hiccup badly hurt, and the pain intensified each time. I prayed and prayed that God would stop the hiccups because it hurt so bad, and, to be transparent, I did get frustrated. I cried out to him in frustration, “I know you can stop them, so why won’t you? They hurt! God, it hurts!” Suddenly the hiccups stopped and the pain was also gone. I immediately wept, repented for my sin of getting frustrated and upset with him, asked him to forgive me (which he did), and thanked him for stopping the hiccups.
Thanks to God, I didn’t sink into depression. I went through a bad situation that could have easily sent me spiraling downward at warp speed. Yet, I didn’t. I did get frustrated, worried, and experience all the normal emotions any person would have, but I remained overall hopeful.
God didn’t let me sink. He provided ways for me to receive his peace, comfort, hope, and encouragement. He helped me through his word. He helped me through his people. He helped me through prayer.
As I write this, it’s November 1, 2019. That accident and the things that happened after keep coming to the forefront of my mind. Emotionally, I’d rather just skip past all of early November. However, I also remember how God was there. I remember how Jesus comforted me. I remember how the Holy Spirit encouraged me. So, while the thoughts of what happened and how I felt are in my mind, they don’t depress me. Instead, they remind me of how good God is.
How has God helped you in times of difficulty, trauma, or struggle? Do you struggle with depression? If so, does Jesus help you with that? How?
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