My Return from Exile

Last night when I got home from work I had a little free time while dinner cooked, so I decided to read my Bible. I picked up my Hebrew-Greek Study Bible and opened it to where I had put the bookmark — right in the middle of Psalms 119, which I had never finished reading a few weeks ago. So I decided to finish the Psalm and was reminded of the great healing God has done in me. I want to start with just a few verses from Psalms 119:

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
         But now I keep Your word. 
71It is good for me that I was afflicted,
         That I may learn Your statutes. 
92If Your law had not been my delight,
         Then I would have perished in my affliction. 
93I will never forget Your precepts,
         For by them You have revived me.

When I was a teenager, I was greatly hurt by several people in my life, but one in particular has always stood out as “the beginning and cause of my affliction.” As I grew older, went to college, and married, I carried around a terrible anger and resentment towards this person. I always felt he had ruined my life. As a result, I ended up afflicted by over 10 years of recurring bouts with major depression. I could not function and for years I blamed him. Even though I was being treated for depression, I had no hope. My doctor had told me I would always be on antidepressants, but they did not make me feel any better. In fact, I think they made me feel worse. I finally came to the point of being suicidal because I thought I was irreparably broken and would always be miserable.

Now at this point, I was married to a wonderful man (who I am thankful stuck with me through all of this) and had a young child who was sweet and funny right from the beginning. But I was not able to enjoy them because of my affliction. At the point of being suicidal, I actually thought they would be better off without me because what good was a broken and afflicted wife and mother?

This is when God intervened in the form of a friend who invited me to a wonderful Bible study. The group was studying Ezra and Nehemiah, which are both about the Israelites’ return to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon and the rebuilding of the temple. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the beginning of my return from exile and God’s rebuilding of His temple in me.

Though I had believed in God and been baptized before this, I didn’t know His Word and I didn’t really know Him. But as I began to read His Word and internalize the truth it holds, the healing began. I came to understand that I had gone astray and that was the reason for my affliction. I was not depressed because of the person who had hurt me; I was depressed because of my reaction to that injury and my own sin of remaining angry and bitter for so many years. While I was attending this Bible study, God taught me that I needed to forgive and by simply forgiving the weight of my affliction was lifted from me.

As the psalmist wrote, before I was afflicted I went astray. My affliction was a good thing because it drew me to God’s Word, His precepts that call us to forgive as we have been forgiven. If I had not come to delight in His Word, I would have died in my affliction. But God’s Word, His great precepts, revived me and restored me.

Suffice it to say, my doctor was wrong. I have not been on or needed antidepressants for over 10 years. I now have hope and peace, and can enjoy the wonderful husband and son that God has given to me, not to mention all the other blessings in my life. And so I say with the psalmist in Psalms 119:

105Your word is a lamp to my feet
         And a light to my path. 
106I have sworn and I will confirm it,
         That I will keep Your righteous ordinances. 
107I am exceedingly afflicted;
         Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.

I am not perfect, and so even though I desire to always keep God’s ordinances I sometimes fail. When I do, I sometimes feel the old affliction try to return. It is then that I again turn to His Word that revives and redeems me.

Enjoy this great Jeremy Camp video of Revive Me, in which he has put parts of Psalms 119 to music:

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


12 Responses

  1. Linda,

    One day I hope I have a testimony as powerful as yours. Right now my affliction is pulling me away from God, farther each day. This gives me a tiny bit of hope. Thank you.


    • Beth, That will be my prayer for you. I’m glad my story gave you some hope. Hang onto that thread of hope. I believe God will hold onto you when you don’t have the strength to hold on to Him. Peace, Linda

  2. Oh..Linda..What a great testimony..and I’m glad that you shared this.I’m sure that there are many out there who are not able to forgive someone in life..

    I love our God because He restores the broken and brings them back from the make them a beautiful temple of God..and you are a living testimony Linda…and I am too.

    God Bless,

  3. Thank you for sharing this with us. I love people’s testimonies . . .just the hope and redemption, stirs me up and makes me want to sing praises to Him! God bless you Linda! I am so thankful that you were saved out of your affliction and are here today, living for Him! deb

  4. Linda,
    What an inspiring message/testimony you have written today, I am glad the spirit led you to share that. Maybe your sharing this will be read by someone who is going through the same thing, and be a source of guidance to them, showing them that nothing is hopeless. Washing off the resentment in the shower of the Spirit leaves one cleaner and much lighter, and it all begins with forgiveness. God Bless and keep you and your family. Happy weekend

    • Jim, I do believe that we are meant so share our stories of loss and redemption so that others might be redeemed through our testimony. I have told this story many times one-on-one, or to small groups; but it is much harder to write it, not knowing who will read it. I do know that God is in control. Thanks for your message of your “less than flattering” tale that led me to finally post this story. Peace, Linda

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