This Is My Story
The Lord Saved Me From the Depths of Despair
Karen Pansler-Lam, J.D.
Psychology, psychiatry, philosophy,
and other humanist pseudosciences
are not the answer to despair.
Jesus is the answer.
my mid-twenties, I was sinking in the stormy waves of depression.
I even seriously contemplated suicide.
the Lord saved me from drowning in the depths of despair!
He put a new song in my heart!
Loss of Faith in God
The death of my 12-year-old sister
began my loss of faith in God; I was 16 years old.
being diagnosed with leukemia, my sister was prayed for by family and
friends. And many
well-meaning Christian friends repeatedly told me that if we had faith
enough my sister would be healed; they quoted Matthew 18:19:
I say unto you,
we waited and waited for a miracle…but she died.
To me, God did not keep His Word. That
began my gradual loss of faith in God and eventual downward spiral into utter
began questioning everything that I had been taught about the Bible.
If Matthew 18:19, wasn’t really true, then was the entire Bible a
grew up in Assemblies of God churches and graduated Southeastern College
of the Assemblies of God in Lakeland, Florida, and Evangel College of the
Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri.
at the time of my sister’s illness, we attended First Assembly of God in
Lakeland, Florida. I didn’t
understand at the time that Pastor Karl Strader was Word of Faith: “name
it and claim it,” prosperity giving (Strader declared we should tithe on
what we’d like to be making), Christians should never have a blue day,
and other false doctrines.
after Strader visited my terminally ill sister in the hospital and
told my parents she was sick because they must have committed a grievous
sin, I refused to attend First Assembly; and protested going to a church
that preached so much false doctrine.
So, we began attending a smaller Assemblies of God church.
From 16 years old until my early 20s, instead of seeking the Lord, I ignored Him and turned my back on Him. I had a spark of faith during this time, but that spark was slowly dying out.
I knew that if I died, I was condemned to eternal damnation.
Now let me make this clear: I
was not a drunkard or fornicator or drug addict and so forth. In other words, it was not carnal rebellion.
It was intellectual rebellion: Biblical truths were questioned,
despised and rejected.
I did not embrace the false doctrine of once saved, always saved to delude myself that a spark of faith would keep me from eternal
I lost a job opportunity in London, England, it sent me spiraling downward
into the depths of despair. This great blow quenched my last spark of faith.
days I believed there was a God, and I hated Him.
And other days I wasn’t sure if there was a God.
But every day I hated and despised all Christians and Christianity. To me, Christianity was inferior to psychology.
If you have problems, see a psychologist or psychiatrist, not a
I also began reading many of the great literary writers, especially
French: Emile Zola, Voltaire, Colette, Victor Hugo and others.
The words of these immoral writers further poisoned my mind against
God and “middle-class values.”
I struggled with the demonic temptations of booze and drugs.
didn’t drink or do drugs, but I was strongly tempted by those demons of
depravity. There was a mighty battle raging in my soul to indulge in carnality
to drown my despair. What
stopped me? I didn't want to hurt my parents.
What stopped me? I didn't want to hurt my parents.
my mid-20s, I was in the depths of utter despair.
I seriously contemplated suicide and expressed this to my parents
at times: “I’m going to kill myself.”
Sometimes they didn’t reply.
Sometimes they said: “Karen, you don’t mean it.”
I answered, “Yes, I do.” And
I meant it.
Lord Saved Me From the Depths of Despair
circumstances caused me to ask myself: “What if Christianity is really
I turned from running from the Truth, to seeking the Truth. In fact,
the sermon “The Faith Once Delivered to the Saints” by Lyman Beecher
was a turning point: I turned from my backsliding and headed homeward.
Reading the sermon for the first time, I highlighted these words;
and they certainly apply to me today:
who virulently hated, and verily thought that they ought to oppose,
evangelical doctrines and revivals of religion, have been convinced of
their mistake and their sin; and have embraced, joyfully, the doctrines which
they have reviled.
friend, that is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit!
began to hunger and thirst after the Truth.
Consequently, I was transformed from someone who despised and showed great
contempt for Christians and Christianity into a great defender of the
life has not been easy or comfortable these many years: I have suffered many trials and tribulations.
And occasionally I get discouraged or disheartened.
But the Hand of the Lord has kept me from falling back into the depths
family and false Christians show contempt for me, and call me a religious fanatic.
But, when I was sinking in the depths of utter despair, the Lord lifted me up and set my feet on solid ground!
I owe Him my life!
I owe Him my life!
The Lord Set My Feet Upon a Rock
am I sharing my testimony with you? Because there are countless souls living
in the depths of despair; many contemplate or attempt
suicide. And many despairing
souls can’t find the answer to their hopelessness.
A Christian wrote to me because she was offended my messages teach and preach that depression, despair and suicide are sins. She called depression a bipolar disorder or disease, like Alzheimer's and schizophrenia. Sadly, as a professing Christian, for over 20 years she suffered depression and attempted suicide several times. Thankfully, the Lord delivered her from the depths of despair after a Christian woman full of faith laid hands on and prayed for her.
Here is my reply...
the Lord for your deliverance from depression! What a wonderful testimony
that the Hand of the Lord is ready and willing to pull us out of an
brought me up also out of an horrible pit,
of the miry clay,
set my feet upon a rock,
established my goings.
he hath put a new song in my mouth,
praise unto our God:
shall see it, and fear,
shall trust in the Lord.
too, can sing this song of praise. Years ago, in my twenties, I lost a job
opportunity in London and was very unhappy with my life; and lost my faith
in God. I became depressed and contemplated drugs and alcohol and suicide.
I also had crying spells. I was so miserable! After several years of dark
depression, I was so sick of dark days and dark nights, one day I
determined in my heart and mind that it had to change. So, I began to make
changes in my life. But the most important decision I made was to begin to
seek the Truth: Is Christianity the Truth? Well...the more I began to seek
the Truth, the less depressed I was. Glory to God! The Lord brought me out
of an horrible pit!
then I've suffered many trials and tribulations, but have never suffered
depression. Sometimes I get dejected waiting on the Lord, but singing
hymns of praise and meditating on His Word lifts my spirits.
depression cannot be put in the same category as schizophrenia or
Alzheimer's. And there is no such thing as a bipolar disorder. Depression
is a dark state of mind that causes a chemical
imbalance in the brain. Depression causes the chemical imbalance; the
chemical imbalance does not cause depression. Depression is a sullen or
despondent attitude caused by unhappiness about ourselves and our lives.
We are often self-absorbed, hurt, or discontent. And depression often
sinks into despair and hopelessness. And it may lead to suicide.
the fruit of the Spirit is joy! How can we be filled with
joy if we are depressed?
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith,
temperance: against such there is no law.
are promised joy, not depression...
things have I spoken unto you,
my joy might remain in you,
that your joy might be full.
the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
ye may abound in hope,
the power of the Holy Ghost.
we are to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. How can we do this if we are
we cannot serve God and others if we are allow ourselves to sink into
despair. Instead, we become a burden to others.
what a poor testimony to the world if instead of rejoicing Christians we
sink into the depths of despair and are despondent Christians. We deny
there is victory in Jesus!
last three years, my husband and I have had many trials and tribulations:
losing my job and unable to find employment, my father died causing family
problems, my nephew's suicide, and other troubles. We have more to be
depressed about than years ago, but now that we are Christians, we put our
faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes we get disheartened, but we
dwell on the promises of God, not on external circumstances. See my
message: "Peace In Your Heart" @
may lead to suicide. Suicide is self-murder. If someone is truly insane,
he is not guilty of self-murder. However, if the insanity is caused by
habits such as drugs and drunkenness, he is guilty.
as in a court of law, those who kill someone while under the influence of
drugs or alcohol are still culpable, in God’s Court, those who kill
themselves while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are culpable.
God commands us: "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13). Matthew
II. The sixth commandment concerns our own and
our neighbour’s life (v. 13): "Thou shalt not kill; thou
shalt not do any thing hurtful or injurious to the health, ease, and life,
of thy own body, or any other person’s unjustly.” This is one of
the laws of nature, and was strongly enforced by the precepts given to
Noah and his sons, Gen.
6. It does not forbid killing in lawful war, or in our own necessary
defence, nor the magistrate’s putting offenders to death, for those
things tend to the preserving of life; but it forbids all malice and
hatred to the person of any (for he that hateth his brother is a
murderer), and all personal revenge arising therefrom; also all rash
anger upon sudden provocations, and hurt said or done, or aimed to be
done, in passion: of this our Saviour expounds this commandment, Mt.
And, as that which is worst of all, it forbids persecution, laying wait
for the blood of the innocent and excellent ones of the earth.
the Word of the Lord declares:
that overcometh shall inherit all things;
cannot repent of self-murder and then murder yourself.
I thank God you did not commit self-murder.
Bible never condones us falling into despair and suicide. Paul writes:
are troubled on every side,
not in despair;
but not forsaken;
down, but not destroyed.
Corinthians 4:8, 9
Henry comments on v. 8, 9, 13-18 :
these verses the apostle gives an account of their courage and patience
under all their sufferings, where observe,
I. How their sufferings, and patience under them, are
declared, v. 8-12. The apostles were great sufferers; therein they
followed their Master: Christ had told them that in the world they
should have tribulation, and so they had; yet they met with wonderful
support, great relief, and many allays of their sorrows. "We
are,” says the apostle, "troubled on every side,
afflicted many ways, and we meet with almost all sorts of troubles; yet
not distressed, v. 8. We are not hedged in nor cooped up, because we
can see help in God, and help from God, and have liberty of access to God.
Again, "We are perplexed, often uncertain, and in doubt what
will become of us, and not always without anxiety in our minds on this
account; yet not in despair (v. 8), even in our greatest
perplexities, knowing that God is able to support us, and to deliver us,
and in him we always place our trust and hope.” Again, "We are persecuted
by men, pursued with hatred and violence from place to place, as men not
worthy to live; yet not forsaken of God.”
II. What it was that kept them from sinking and
fainting under their sufferings, v. 13-18. Whatever the burdens and
troubles of good men may be, they have cause enough not to faint.
1. Faith kept them from fainting: We have the same
spirit of faith (v. 13), that faith which is of the operation of the
Spirit; the same faith by which the saints of old did and suffered such
great things. Note, The grace of faith is a sovereign cordial, and an
effectual antidote against fainting-fits in troublous times. The spirit of
faith will go far to bear up the spirit of a man under his infirmities;
and as the apostle had David’s example to imitate, who said (Ps.
116:10), I have believed, and therefore have I spoken,
so he leaves us his example to imitate: We also believe, says he, and
therefore speak. Note, As we receive help and encouragement from the
good words and examples of others, so we should be careful to give a good
example to others.
The prospect of eternal life and happiness kept them from fainting, and
was a mighty support and comfort. As to this observe, (1.) The apostle and
his fellow-sufferers saw their afflictions working towards heaven, and
that they would end at last (v. 17), whereupon they weighed things aright
in the balance of the sanctuary; they did as it were put the heavenly
glory in one scale and their earthly sufferings in the other; and,
pondering things in their thoughts, they found afflictions to be light,
and the glory of heaven to be a far more exceeding weight. That
which sense was ready to pronounce heavy and long, grievous and tedious,
faith perceived to be light and short, and but for a moment. On the other
hand, the worth and weight of the crown of glory, as they are exceedingly
great in themselves, so they are esteemed to be by the believing soul-far
exceeding all his expressions and thoughts; and it will be a special
support in our sufferings when we can perceive them appointed as the way
and preparing us for the enjoyment of the future glory. (2.) Their faith
enabled them to make this right judgment of things: We look not at the
things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, v. 18. It
is by faith that we see God, who is invisible (Heb.
11:27), and by this we look to an unseen heaven and hell,
and faith is the evidence of things not seen. Note, [1.] There are
unseen things, as well as things that are seen. [2.] There is this vast
difference between them: unseen things are eternal, seen things but
temporal, or temporary only. [3.] By faith we not only discern these
things, and the great difference between them, but by this also we take
our aim at unseen things, and chiefly regard them, and make it our end and
scope, not to escape present evils, and obtain present good, both of which
are temporal and transitory, but to escape future evil and obtain future
good things, which though unseen,
real, and certain, and eternal; and faith is the substance of things
hoped for, as well as the evidence of things not seen, Heb.
seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
us lay aside every weight,
the sin which doth so easily beset us,
let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,
ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
observe what is the great duty which the apostle urges upon the Hebrews,
and which he so much desires they would comply with, and that is, to lay
aside every weight, and the sin that did so easily beset them, and run
with patience the race set before them. The duty consists of two
parts, the one preparatory, the other perfective.
Preparatory: Lay aside every weight, and the sin, etc. 1. Every
weight, that is, all inordinate affection and concern for the body,
and the present life and world. Inordinate care for the present life, or
fondness for it, is a dead weight upon the soul, that pulls it down when
it should ascend upwards, and pulls it back when it should press forward;
it makes duty and difficulties harder and heavier than they would be. 2. The
sin that doth so easily beset us; the sin that has the greatest
advantage against us, by the circumstances we are in, our constitution,
our company. This may mean either the damning sin of unbelief or rather
the darling sin of the Jews, an over-fondness for their own dispensation. Let
us lay aside all external and internal hindrances.
Perfective: Run with patience the race that is set before us. The
apostle speaks in the gymnastic style, taken from the Olympic and other
Christians have a race to run, a race of service and a race of sufferings,
a course of active and passive obedience.
This race is set before them; it is marked out unto them, both by the word
of God and the examples of the faithful servants of God, that cloud of
witnesses with which they are compassed about. It is set out by proper
limits and directions; the mark they run to, and the prize they run for,
are set before them.
This race must be run with patience and perseverance. There will be need
of patience to encounter the difficulties that lie in our way, of
perseverance to resist all temptations to desist or turn aside. Faith and
patience are the conquering graces, and therefore must be always
cultivated and kept in lively exercise.
Christians have a greater example to animate and encourage them in their
Christian course than any or all who have been mentioned before, and that
is the Lord Jesus Christ: Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher
of our faith, v. 2. Here observe,
What our Lord Jesus is to his people: he is the author and finisher of
their faith - the beginning, perfecter, and rewarder of it. [1.]
He is the author of their faith; not only the object, but the author. He
is the great leader and precedent of our faith, he trusted in God;
he is the purchaser of the Spirit of faith, the publisher of the rule of
faith, the efficient cause of the grace of faith, and in all respects the
author of our faith. [2.] He is the finisher of our faith; he is
the fulfiller and the fulfilling of all scripture-promises and prophecies;
he is the perfecter of the canon of scripture; he is the finisher of
grace, and of the work of faith with power in the souls of his people; and
he is the judge and the rewarder of their faith; he determines who they
are that reach the mark, and from him, and in him, they have the prize.
(5.) What is our duty with respect to this Jesus. We
must, [1.] Look unto him; that is, we must set him continually before us
as our example, and our great encouragement; we must look to him for
direction, for assistance, and for acceptance, in all our sufferings. [2.]
We must consider him, meditate much upon him, and reason with ourselves
from his case to our own. We must analogize, as the word is;
compare Christ’s sufferings and ours; and we shall find that as his
sufferings far exceeded ours, in the nature and measure of them, so his
patience far excels ours, and is a perfect pattern for us to imitate.
(6.) The advantage we shall reap by thus doing: it
will be a means to prevent our weariness and fainting (v. 3): Lest you
be weary and faint in your minds. Observe, [1.] There is a proneness
in the best to grow weary and to faint under their trials and
especially when they prove heavy and of long continuance: this proceeds
from the imperfections of grace and the remains of corruption. [2.] The
best way to prevent this is to look unto Jesus, and to consider him. Faith
and meditation will fetch in fresh supplies of strength, comfort, and
courage; for he has assured them, if they suffer with him, they shall
also reign with him: and this hope will be their helmet.
depression is a great weight that burdens us down so that we cannot run
the race with patience. Depression is a dead weight upon the soul, that
pulls it down when it should ascend upwards, and pulls it back when it
should press forward; it makes duty and difficulties harder and heavier
than they would be.
in the Lord alway;
again I say,
He exhorts to holy joy and delight in God: Rejoice in the Lord always,
and again I say, Rejoice, v. 4. All our joy must terminate in God; and
our thoughts of God must be delightful thoughts. Delight thyself in the
in the multitude of our thoughts within us (grievous and afflicting
thoughts) his comforts delight our souls (Ps.
and our meditation of him is sweet, Ps.
104:34. Observe, It is our duty and privilege to rejoice in
God, and to rejoice in him always; at all times, in all conditions; even
when we suffer for him, or are afflicted by him. We must not think the
worse of him or of his ways for the hardships we meet with in his service.
There is enough in God to furnish us with matter of joy in the worst
circumstance on earth. He had said it before (ch. 3:1): Finally, my
brethren, rejoice in the Lord. Here he says it again, Rejoice in
the Lord always; and again I say Rejoice. Joy in God is a duty of
great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again
and again called to it. If good men have not a continual feast, it is
their own fault. http://www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries/comm_view.cfm?AuthorID=4&contentID=1783&commInfo=5&topic=Philippians
can we rejoice in the Lord if we are depressed?
rejoice in the Lord that He lifted you out of an horrible pit!
is Still the Answer
friend…psychology, psychiatry, philosophy, and other humanist
pseudosciences are not the answer to despair.
Jesus is the answer.
can reach down and rescue you from the depths of despair!
did it for me.
do it for you.
do it for anyone who will seek Him.
is still the answer...
brought me up also out of an horrible pit,
of the miry clay,
set my feet upon a rock,
established my goings.