When you need help!

When You feel like you are falling apart – in a dark place and need the light

These three little pieces – one from John Roedel, one about Ira Stanphill, and one about Corrie ten Boon will give you a new perspective on your situation when you feel like you are in a dark place.

Sometimes, all we need is a new perspective, and trust God.  I hope these three little stories help you.

1   Pieces of Soul – John Roedel

“Me: Hello God.
God: Hello…

Me: I’m falling apart.  Can you put me back together?
God: I’d rather not.

Me: Why?
God: Because you’re not a puzzle.

Me: What about all the pieces of my life that fall to the ground?
God: Leave them there for a while.   They fell for a reason.  Let them be there for a while and then decide if you need to take any of those pieces back.

Me: You don’t understand! I’m breaking!
God: No, you don’t understand. You’re transcending, evolving.  What you feel are growing pains.  You’re getting rid of the things and people in your life that are holding you back. The pieces are not falling down.  The pieces are being put in place.  Relax.  Take a deep breath and let those things you no longer need leave you.  Stop clinging to pieces that are no longer for you.   Let them fall.   Let them go.

Me: Once I start doing that, what will I have left?
God: Only the best pieces of yourself.

Me: I’m afraid to change.
God: I keep telling you:  YOU’RE NOT CHANGING!  YOU’RE BECOMING!

Me: Becoming who?
God: Becoming who I created you to be!  A person of light, love, charity, hope, courage, joy, mercy, grace, and compassion.  I made you for so much more than those shallow pieces you decided to adorn yourself with and that you cling to with so much greed and fear.  Let those things fall off you.  I love you!  Don’t change! Become! Don’t change! Become!  Become who I want you to be, who I created.  I’m gonna keep telling you this until you remember.

Me: There goes another piece.
God: Yes. Let it be like this.

Me: So… I’m not broken?
God: No, but you’re breaking through the darkness, like dawn.  It’s a new day.
Become!!  Become who you really are!!”

God often allows us to go through difficult things so He can make us better, to re-fit us so that we can be the person He wants us to be, much more than we are now.  Follow God’s wisdom. In the darkness, look to the brightness of the Son.  Jesus is the light who can lead us through the darkness.
Jesus applies the title “Light,” to himself while debating with the Jews: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”[1]

Again, Jesus affirms his identity as “Light” during the discourse while he was healing a man born blind, “I am the light of the world.”[2]

Jesus used the term, “the light of the world” referring to his disciples.  “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they will put in on its stand, it give light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise you Father in heaven.”[3]

When we hold our light up to the world, we become the light in the darkness.  Sometimes we need to go through the darkness to see the light that is within us.  We are the light of Jesus when we walk in the Spirit.  Praise God!

2   Ira Stanphill
This next little piece is about Ira Stanphill, the great song writer and gospel singer, who had gone through a very difficult struggle in his life, and what happened.

In 1936, Ira Stanphill after traveling as a singing evangelist, settled down in Springfield, Missouri where he agreed to pastor a church. In Springfield, he met Zelma Lawson. She too had musical skills. They married in 1939. Together, they wrote the song, “Room at the Cross for You,” which they sang as a duet for several years. Their voices rang out together on the chorus, “Tho’ millions have come, there’s still room for one. Yes, there’s room at the cross for you.” This song has been used in thousands of invitations where people have surrendered their lives to Christ; people who have been changed, becoming who they really are. What a powerful invitation to come to Jesus! Ira was on a roll becoming quite famous as a gospel singer and song writer.  But Ira’s world came falling apart!

Zelma had begun drifting away from the cross. She started attending nightclubs and seeing other men. She eventually filed for divorce. Zelma remarried and started performing in nightclubs.  Then in 1951, in a car accident Zelma’s life was snuffed out which brough great grief to Ira.

Zelma’s divorce and death seemed that Ira’s life was completely falling apart at the seams and he could do nothing about it.  Ira was at a crossroads in his life.  Between the divorce and Zelma’s death, Ira reached a personal low in his life he never seemed possible; a darkness he had never seen before. He was being criticized for continuing to preach after having been divorced. Many people seemed to turn their backs on him.  He became very alone; felt like everyone had deserted him, even many whom he had counted on for years.  The voices inside Ira’s head and heart were equally severely wounded. He constantly struggled with the direction for his life; it seemed he had no way out of his situation, but he knew God had a plan for his life (even though there was no sign, no hope of a turnaround, nothing), but he simply waited (faith in action) on God’s next move.

Then, one day driving to the church he served at the time, Ira poured out his feelings to God -he put it all on the line to God, his questions, his unbearable heartaches, his feelings of worthlessness – Lord, I have nothing left, I’m no good to You or to myself. I’m broken. I’m so miserable. I don’t know what to do. I can’t face tomorrow, then he cried out to God with an earnest desire for direction. By the time he reached the church, God had given him a new song. The experience didn’t give Ira all the answers he wanted at the time, but it gave him the total trust in God he needed.

Ira became who he really was. The song God gave him during that struggle is one whom thousands of lives have been touched and brought them to the place of knowing who they really are, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

The lyrics God gave Ira that day, is this:

I don’t know about tomorrow; I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine, for its skies may turn to grey.
I don’t worry o’er the future, for I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him, for He knows what lies ahead.

Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.

Every step is getting brighter, as the golden stairs I climb;
Every burden’s getting lighter, every cloud is silver-lined.
There the sun is always shining, there no tear will dim the eye;
At the ending of the rainbow, where the mountains touch the sky.

I don’t know about tomorrow; it may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow, is the one who stands by me.
And the path that is my portion, may be through the flame or flood;
But His presence goes before me, and I’m covered with His blood

                                                        Music and Lyrics by Ira Stanphill (1950)

 In the decades since, many have experienced fresh faith for the future upon singing or hearing the song, “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow.”  The song’s essence is in the words, “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand; but I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.”
What some awesome words of encouragement to one who is in a dark place, and needs someone to hold their hand through the darkness into the light.  Wow!

3   Corrie ten Boom

The third little piece is about Corrie ten Boom, Christian writer, and world traveler.
Corrie ten Boom and Betsie ten Boom (sisters) were Christians who lived in the Netherlands during World War II. They hid Jews in their home to protect them from the Nazis.  When they were discovered, not only were the Jews taken to the concentration camps, but Corrie and Betsie were taken as well, and they spent the rest of the war in the horrors and atrocities of the concentration camp. It seemed to be no way out of their horrible plight.  It seemed that they had no way to turn.  Their lives seemed to be falling apart; nothing left; no way out, but they hung on to their faith in God, one miserable day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time.  It seemed there would be no tomorrow, for the Ten Boom sisters.

However, God made a way out of the darkness, into a great light. Corrie under God’s leadership changed many lives.   After the war, Ten Boom returned to the Netherlands to set up a rehabilitation center in Bloemendaal, a refuge house for concentration camp survivors, and until 1950 exclusively sheltered jobless Dutch who had collaborated with the Germans during the Occupation, and accepted anyone in need of care. She returned to Germany in 1946 and met with and forgave two Germans, one of whom had been particularly cruel to her sister Betsie.

Corrie went on to travel the world as a public speaker, appearing in more than 60 countries. She wrote several books during this period. Corrie ten Boom’s legacy has been preserved in many ways, including the numerous books she wrote about how she and her family protected Dutch Jews from the Nazis during WorldWar II. One of her bestselling books, The Hiding Place, was also turned into a Hollywood movie in 1975.  Corrie emerged from the shambles of her life to become a very famous woman who touched multiplied thousands for Christ. 

Maybe you find yourself in the bottomless pit of life; in the darkest place you’ve ever experienced. You may have hit bottom financially, and think, “I am not going to make ends meet.”   Maybe you hit rock bottom in your career and feel like giving up, feeling worthless.  Or maybe you’ve hit rock bottom emotionally, or in your marriage, or in your health. You’re frustrated and can’t help but think, “I’m going under.” “There is no way out of this mess!”  “I just feel useless; I have no reason to keep on living.”

John Roedel is giving you and God an imaginary dialogue, where God can give you a new perspective on your own situation.  Sometimes you only need a new perspective of the situation you are in to become who you really are!  A new perspective for a complete turn-around, become the new you.

Ira Stanphill gives us some most hopeful and encouraging words of faith for the future for those of us who are feeling that our life is falling apart, that there seems to be no hope for the future, during one of the lowest points in his own personal life, he wrote a song that has touched multiplied thousands of people.  

Corrie ten Boom, watching one atrocity after another during the concentration camps, gives us hope for a better life. During the horrors of the camp, Corrie told Betsie, “This place is the pit of Hell!” Betsie replied, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper.” Wow!

We all have times when we think, “I’m going under for the last time! I’m about to sink for the last time!” But no matter how for the hole you have fell into, how deep you get, God’s love is deeper than our problem.  Where is God when you hit bottom? He’s right there with you, underneath you. He is “your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you” (Deuteronomy 33:27).  He is there as we travel the rough times of life; He is our shepherd, he leads me beside still waters from the raging sea, He leads us into green pastures when we have been beaten by the heat; He walks with us as we go through the valley of death, that we seem to have no way out; His rod and His staff helps us to take one more step, one more minute, one more hour, one more day, until He spreads before us a table of rejuvenation, and brings us to the person we were meant to be. God really does want us to be all we can be.  This is not just a slogan on an Army Recruiting poster,  it is a reality in God’s own heart of hearts.

When life gives you more than you can stand, kneel. Drop into his arms of love. Let him catch you and support you when you have nowhere else to go.  We don’t know about tomorrow, we don’t understand it, we can’t seem to put the pieces of our lives back together, those three stories give us hope that God (through it all) holds our hand and walks beside us as we travel through the things we can’t understand or how it is possible to put the pieces of our lives back together. Trust God!

God provides. He is Jehovah Jireh – The Lord provides.  When it seems all is lost –
God steps in and lifts us up!                           

                                                                                                     – Jim Burns  


[1] John 8:12

[2] John 9:5 (read the passage 9:1-7)

[3] Matthew 5:14

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