I remember it clear as day, the moment that I realised that depression had crept back into my life in full force. I was in my third year of study at university and had been a Christian for a little under three years. I had shared my testimony far and wide, shared of how the Lord had delivered me from depression. And, truth is, I had not had any episodes of depression for so long since becoming a Christian and so – to my knowledge – I was free from this disease. But there I was, consumed by such great darkness. It was also coupled with shame and the embarrassment of being a Christian who was facing mental illness – what a taboo that was.
When it came to the time to write my exams in the summer, I did not know what to do. I had barely been able to study and I was faced with sitting eight exams in a period of two weeks. I sought advice from a lecturer at university who gave me the options of sitting the exams and deferring for a year. I found myself in a doctor’s office, seeking help from the darkness that so greatly consumed my mind. I continually forced myself to be in church even though I was struggling to pray myself, but I knew that a solution had to come from somewhere.
One Sunday, it was the second anniversary for the branch of my church that I attend – VBCI River Life Sanctuary – and our Bishop had visited us to minister. That day, he laid hands and prayed for everyone. Something changed that day, something supernatural that I cannot even explain in words. The heaviness itself did not lift (that is a testimony for another day) but, something came upon and I gained a supernatural ability to study. This was just about a week before my first exam and I was literally studying the whole year’s content for eight exams within that one week. Where previously, I could barely concentrate for two minutes, within those few weeks I was given a supernatural strength.
The exams came and went, I was truly unsure as to how I did but, I kept on believing and hoping. I was surrounded by some great leaders in my church at the time who constantly kept encouraging and pushing me to move forward. The day I received my results, I was grateful to the point of speechlessness. God truly came through and I had achieved greater than I ever imagined possible. I was able to proceed on to my final year and, today, I am a graduate.
There was one scripture that saw me through this whole season, in the times I could not pray – I would recite this scripture. When I felt like giving up, it was the scripture that I turned to and, I believe, as I declared these words over my life – God established it to be true. That scripture is Isaiah 50:7 (NIV):
“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.”
Believing in God for deliverance when you feel so far from Him is a difficult thing to do but this scripture gives us reason to believe and continue hoping, even in the face of challenges. Why? “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me” – to be Sovereign is to have the ultimate and highest power. So, if the Lord is Sovereign and He is your helper, it then makes sense as to why you will not be disgraced. If God Almighty has all power then, He will be able to help you with any need you may have. It is only when you believe this with all you are that you will be able to set your face like flint. How do we believe this? The more you know God, the more assurance you have that what He says is true and who He is does not change. Study scripture and find verses that resonate with you and say them to yourself over and over.
Only then will you be able to stand and say “I set my face like flint”, this immovable faith comes when you decide that God is God and there is nothing that can change that. You decide to follow Him with all you have despite what is going on around you. Flint is a hard stone and so, when you say you have set your face like flint, essentially you are saying you are immovable – what you believe is what you believe. The result of this belief is knowing that the One in whom you believe will not put you to shame.
For me, I had every reason to think I would be put to shame. When I decided to sit those exams having barely learnt anything that year, I was setting myself up to fail them. But I decided to believe in the Sovereign Lord, the ultimate power who – despite what I was feeling – has the power to do all. I knew that once I had set my face toward Him, He would not let me be disgraced and, surely enough, I was not disgraced.
Today, I encourage you to look to the Sovereign Lord for help. Let your face be set like flint. Be immovable. Regardless of what situation you may be facing, get to know God for who He is and BELIEVE in who He is. And I pray, that as you do this, God will grant you the grace to believe and – therefore – you will not be put to shame.