Hearing God's Voice
When suggestions or thoughts come to you to take your life, what can you do?
One of the most important and powerful things to do is to realize that these are not your thoughts, nor can they make you do anything. The devil could only tempt Jesus to jump; he couldn't push him off the pinnacle. Below is a powerful story of how one young teenager, faced with the thought to end his life, found joy and friendship when he decided to listen to God's voice.
In life today, many things can lead a person to be depressed, whether it's unpopularity, school, parents, friends, etc. During my life, I've had many experiences where I considered taking action on some pretty depressing thoughts. At one point, I even wanted to end it all.
My relationships with others caused me the most trouble in my middle school years. Almost every day, someone would make a negative comment towards me at school. At this time, I had an extremely small group of friends, who I considered to be my best friends. They were there for me every time I needed them, especially when it came to the times where the people at school made me feel depressed. Despite their support, I still struggled. I found what I feared the most were my thoughts about how to solve the problem and what they said about me. It was as if I had voices in my head convincing me to feel lonely or desperate.
Many of you out there probably know about the "Numa Numa" song because of that one guy who made it humorous. He sent a video of himself singing it to his girlfriend, who thought it was cute, and she passed it on. Eventually, it reached almost everyone on the Internet. Apparently, that man got so many comments about how it was so funny and stupid (which must have been embarrassing for him) that it became too much for him. What he wanted most was just a normal life. When people said, "Hey, aren't you the 'Numa Numa' guy?" it made him not want to do normal social activities anymore, but instead just stay home and play video games. That's how I felt.
Throughout this experience, my parents would say that there are hundreds of kids going through this kind of situation, but I didn't think my parents knew what I was going through.
A "voice" would say to me, "I'm going to stay."
Another "voice" would say, "No you're not. No one likes you. Why should you be here? It's never going to get better."
"Yes it will, I know it will. I have friends. People go through this."
"Your parents are liars. They have not gone through what you're going through."
This was always the discussion, back and forth, and it reminded me of a story in the Bible. Before Jesus began his "career," the devil tried to tempt him by asking him to turn stones into bread. When he said no, the devil suggested that Jesus toss himself off a mountain (telling him he'd be unharmed) to prove his power. Again, Jesus said no. He was tempted to not do what he knew he had to do. Then, he was tempted to deny God: if he would just bow down to the devil, he would receive all the riches of the world. But Jesus said, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." The next part says, "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him" (Matt. 4:1-11).
I felt that this was similar to what I was going through. In this Bible story, the devil (any evil suggestion) tried to lodge itself into the thoughts of Jesus. In my case, death was the temptation (I thought that would make everything better), but Jesus' example proved that we mustn't let evil lodge itself in our thinking. Jesus stuck with the truth and his life purpose -- to show the true way to us all; and for that, he had dominion over evil. We, too, must act with an attitude of purpose and not allow this "voice" to get us to obey it.
Then one time, one of the voices I heard said, "Why am I continuing on with this? You should end this right away."
The other voice came back strong: "Why would you even want to harm yourself? Look at your motives."
The motives I had for harming myself weren't right. What motivated me was to seek true friendship and have a greater understanding of life. I saw that there was so much more to life than there had appeared to be. Realizing that what I did have was precious helped me come through the situation. I decided to listen to the right voice. I knew the help I needed would come from this voice, which is the only voice any of us should listen to and the only voice that could help me. From that moment on, things started to change, and the most unexpected people started talking to me. One of the more popular people in school appeared completely out of nowhere and became my friend. Although I was making just a few more friends, it made a difference. I felt that my prayer was being answered and that God was sending me a clear message.
Another story that helped me is about the prophet, Elijah (found in the Old Testament), when he was proving the power of God to people who prayed to the god, Baal. Baal didn't answer the people's pleas to prove he existed. So, Elijah called on God to show His power. Elijah was so confident in God that he put water all over the altar and prayed. The Lord answered by sending down a fire which consumed the wood, the sacrifice, and the water. The people who prayed to Baal saw the powerlessness of their god and the power of the true God. The prophets of Baal were killed, and because of this, Jezebel wanted to kill Elijah. Elijah was afraid and ran. After a long time, he went to a mountain where God spoke to him.
And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. (I Kings 19:9-12)
There are many voices that try to distract us or shake us, but none of them is from God. None of them has caring thoughts for us; they want to harm. I learned not to be tempted to listen to anything but the "still small voice," which is God's voice. The Bible and our own experiences prove that God loves each one of us. He forgives us and he protects us. I have since found that there's so much more to life -- so much joy.
If you, like me, have felt humiliated, it's so helpful to know that God loves you greatly. He wants you to have joy in your life! So, if it seems like someone hates you, don't let that bring you down. Be your true self -- no matter what. When I listened to the right voice, I knew that soon, everything would change. Once I realized this, things changed for the better, and the evil sense disappeared. As I realized how much God loved me and how much joy surrounded me, all thoughts trying to make me want to take my life vanished.
The stories we find in the Bible have valuable lessons. I find more and more that the Bible relates to my experience. As a result, I've been able to recognize the "voice" of the "enemy" and stop listening to it. You, too, can listen to and obey the voice of Life. Jesus once said, using the metaphor of the shepherd: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). Life is so much better, full of good friends and joy, when we follow the voice of our Shepherd.