Episode 1. I'm Dying Inside
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What happens to us in life happens to us in two different dimensions: on the outside and on the inside. And in fact, it’s on the inside where we experience emotions like joy, delight, fear and …
What happens to us in life happens to us in two different dimensions: on the outside and on the inside. And in fact, it’s on the inside where we experience emotions like joy, delight, fear and failure. So … have you ever found yourself feeling like you’re dying on the inside?
I was sitting next to an older man, recently, in the bus and I thought I would just love to know your life story. Yet through the anonymity of the internet so many people come to our website, www.christianityworks.com and ask for prayer for things in their lives that (in most cases) they could never talk to anyone else about. And it never ceases to amaze me how great their need is.
This week, anonymously, I’d like to share some of those with you starting with someone who writes, “I’m just dying inside.”
I always remember the story of a young doctor who used to visit wealthy houses in a suburb, near where I used to live. And he said that, it doesn’t matter how many houses he went into, all these large wealthy people, in big houses, he said, ‘Time after time after time, in almost all of them, there was some form of tragedy or abuse or drug abuse or marriage breakdown’. And I guess, that’s the thing, isn’t it? At the train station or the bus stop, you just don’t know.
You look at a person and you see a blank face and you think ‘what happened to them yesterday or last night or today? What’s going on in their hearts? What are they feeling right now – joy or pain or boredom or emptiness or loss or gain? You don’t know. And sadly, so often, no one cares either.
It’s the same with us too. We go out there in life, we may have had an argument or a hurt or a pain or you maybe feeling desperately, desperately lonely and we go out to the bus stop or the train station or to work and we put the face on that hides what’s going on in our hearts.
When people send prayer requests to our website www.christianityworks.com, it’s interesting how the anonymity of the internet allows people to be much more open and frank with what’s going on in their lives. In a way, that’s quite different to face-to-face contact, where they would be much more inhibited about talking about themselves.
This week, on A Different Perspective, I’d like to walk through some of the common types of prayer requests we get (quite anonymously, of course). Not talking about anyone’s names or particular circumstances but just look through some of those things because, to me, those many prayer requests and kind of like a cross-section of what’s going on in the lives of the people at my bus stop and my train station.
One of the ones that we often get, and this is a typical example, is the sense of “I’m falling, I’m plagued by dread and doubt and depression. I’ve stopped having contact with people and I’m afraid of being judged”. Now recently, I had one like that from a person who said, “I’m just dying inside”, and this person identified themselves as someone who actually believed in Jesus Christ. They identified themselves as a Christian.
I wonder how many people feel like they are dying inside? Despite all the worldly goods and things we have around us – whether they have ever met Jesus before or whether they are Christians – they live in this centreless, materialistic world with more choices than we can poke a stick at. And yet, they have this sense that they’re dying inside. It’s so sad to see people to be surrounded by all the good things they could ever want, every comfort, every luxury and yet still, to be dying inside.
All sorts of things promise a new life and a new beginning. And I tried a lot of them before I became a Christian and they’re okay for a while. But ultimately, they lead to disappointment. They don’t work. Religion doesn’t work. I love the fact that Jesus specialised in people who were dying inside.
The prostitute, this woman who is so despised, yet obviously, still had a business. Obviously, there were men in the society who were using her and paying for the privilege. But this prostitute, who just kind of saw Jesus and He encouraged her and He stood up for her when the religious leaders wanted to belittle her and to kick her out.
The demon possessed man, the Gerasene demoniac. This man who was like an animal, living in a graveyard amongst the gravestones and Jesus went and touched him.
All sorts of people; weirdos and unhealthy people. Jesus went and healed them. But something more than that … there was compassion. There was a reality an authenticity, a Jesus just wanted to put His arms around these people and love them.
I remember a time in my life when I drove a large flash car and lived in a huge house with gold taps. And was so full of my own self importance as an International Consultant, that sat with Boards and CEO’s of large Corporations. And the first time I met Jesus, under a tree, after a Church service (I got to tell you, I hadn’t been to a Church for years other than the odd wedding or funeral), I went to this Church service and I went out afterwards and sat down under a tree and for the first time – I encountered life.
When I gave my life to Jesus it was like I was a little balloon full of helium, you know, it was like I was floating. It was the most awesome experience of my life. And it wasn’t until after I did that, that I could look back on my life and think, there I was with the big car and the big house and the self-importance but all along, deep inside, I had a sense of being an impostor, a sense of dread and doubt and depression. Just like this person (who sent this prayer request to us last week), afraid of being judged, I wanted to be so high and mighty. But inside, there was a secret fear and so I put on a strong exterior, a strong face.
That stuff is completely, completely gone. Why? What happened? Because over the last ten years, I have spent hours and hours and hours, quietly, in the presence of God – praying, listening, reading His word. Just sitting quietly to hear what He had to say; and tasting His goodness, seeing His hand on my life; feeling the blessing of His goodness all around me and what He did; and how He interacted with me as He puts His spirit inside each one of us.
And the greatest thing; the most important thing for me was (over a period of many years of spending time with Him), finally coming to grips with the fact that all my failures, all of them, were paid for by Jesus on the cross.
And today, I know I have a right standing with Him. There’s no dread, no doubt, no depression, no fear of being judged because in Jesus Christ, God accepted me. In Jesus Christ, God accepts me and in Jesus Christ, God accepts you.
We need never, ever, feel as though we are dying inside. And the reason, quite plainly, is this – because Jesus has already done the dying for us, because Jesus has already suffered the pain of all our failures and inadequacies, and He just waits. He longs to spend hours and hours and hours with you and with me, quietly, beautifully, gently pouring His love and His grace and His blessing and His goodness into our very soul and spirit and being.
We need never … ever again feel as though we are dying inside.