faith | Features

In the depths…

By Christian Womanmag

IN 2010 I visited Israel for the first time.  Our tour included a visit to the House of Caiaphas where Jesus had been taken after He was arrested.  This became one of my most precious memories of my time in Jerusalem, for a very unexpected reason.

Many years ago I was struggling with deep depression.  On one of my admissions to a private psychiatric hospital I felt as though I was in a bottomless, black abyss, overcome by intense darkness that enveloped my soul.  As I stood by the railings of the hospital walkway, I sensed the presence of God.  I felt His strong assurance that though I was in the deepest of pits, He was already there.  It did not matter how desperate I was, how dark my life, God was with me, and in in that deep, dark place, God was there.  To the measure of the depth of my despair, so was God’s intensely deep love for me.

In the House of Caiaphas, we were taken down some stone steps to a dark dungeon, lit only by a single globe.  People believe that at the time of His arrest Jesus was taken to this place to be held in this dark pit while the authorities quibbled over what to do with Him.  Jesus Himself had been in the darkest of pits – there would have been no single globe, no light to break the blackness.  Today in that pit there is a simple wooden lectern on which has been placed a folder containing the words of Psalm 88.  One of the ladies in our group began to read them:

I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near death.  I am counted among those who go down to the pit … You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths  (Psalm 88:3-6).

I stood in wonder at what I was hearing, taken back to that time many years earlier when I had been in my dark dungeon, when God had assured me that He was already there, and that even in that wretched pit I was not alone.  Now, from His very Word – the Holy Scriptures – and spoken from the depths of a dark pit where Jesus had once been, He was validating the reality of what He had told me.  Words failed me, tears flowed, and my heart rejoiced at His faithfulness to me.

By Irene Frances | Freelance Writer |