Everyone faces different battles in life.
Some are forced to be fought out in the open for all to see. Others are concealed beneath the surface, in holes so deep no one can truly observe their depth or their pain.
For me, the biggest battle of my life has been fought internally within my mind.
I’ve struggled with chronic loneliness, fear, and anxiety for as long as I can remember. For years I was plagued with overwhelming emotions and dark thoughts that would wind through every chamber and corridor of my mind.
Slowly but surely, they trickled down into my heart and seeped into every part of my life.
There was nowhere I could go to escape the loneliness. No soothing line I could say to ease the fear. No preparation that I could make to overpower the anxieties I faced. These thoughts, these emotions, were all-consuming.
They took control of my relationships, how I viewed the future, and even how I viewed myself. Most importantly, and most detrimentally, they overtook my faith. In the words of Will Reagan, “My doubts became my god.” Or more accurately, over time the fears I wrestled with every day evolved into doubts that attacked the saving power of Christ that I had known my entire life and the fundamental aspects of God’s character that I no longer trusted in.
Death and Darkness
When I think back to these struggles, or in the moments that these emotions return, two words come to my mind: death and darkness.
That’s what they felt like. The death of all joy, peace, and trust in my life. The death of restful nights. The death of my self-esteem. The death of my self-worth.
Darkness that overshadowed light and truth. Darkness deep and thick, like a smog that covers a polluted city to the point where you feel as though you can never truly catch your breath. Instead, you feel yourself slowly suffocating in the toxins that fill the air, or the lies that fill your mind.
This is how I lived. In constant mental darkness and ever-present emotional death.
O Death Where is Your Sting?
But death has no power over my God. Let me say that again. Death has no rule or reign, no power or say, when it comes to my God.Death has no rule or reign, no power or say, when it comes to my God. Click To Tweet
My God defeated the grave. My God gives all who trust in him the power to look at the future, including the death we will all inevitably face one day, and laugh. You know what my God says to death? “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
Even though, I didn’t struggle with the pressing prospect of literal physical death, I believe these verses apply to the emotional and mental death I had faced for years. God looked at my metaphorical mental death and said, “Dark thoughts, where is your victory? Fear, anxiety, loneliness, where is your sting?”
Death has no power over my God, and darkness is nothing but sunshine to my King. “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to You (God); the night is bright as day, for darkness is as light with You (God).” (Psalm 139:11-12).
You hear that? God shines light onto the darkness of your mind, the darkness of your thoughts. Death is no enemy. Darkness no challenge.
Through the mutter of a single word, God created light. Light that overpowered, that shut off, the darkness of the world. Oh, how much more can God do for the figurative darkness in your mind and your heart! Bring those fears, those anxieties, that death that lives deep down in your heart, and expose it to the light of the Lord!
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night
-Christ is Risen by Matt Maher