It was my senior year at East Carolina University. I was on my way back to my apartment after spending the weekend with my family. The trip had started off like every other drive home, but a few minutes into my journey, something within me drastically changed.

I didn’t understand it then, but I was under spiritual attack. It came without warning or reason.

Satan, the father of lies, began pouring powerful thoughts of inadequacy and loneliness into my mind. I had experienced these thoughts before, but as I drove, I mulled over the emotions. I allowed the negative thoughts to find root in my heart, and they spread through me like wildfire.

Before I knew it, all I could think about was how easy it would be to end my own life. Me! A God-girl who’d been baptized at the age of nine, who serves in the church and loves the Lord, who’s blessed with amazing friends and family.

But that day, I remember thinking how quickly my life could be over if I drove off the road or what would happen if I placed a handgun to my chest and pulled the trigger. I was overwhelmed. The darkness that was engulfing me was too much for me to handle on my own. I couldn’t speak; I didn’t have any words to say.

The last stoplight before my apartment caught me, and I sat there, completely brokenhearted. I had nothing left in me with which to fight. And then, my Friend took hold of my hand. He smiled at me. It was Jesus. As the image of Christ filled my heart and my mind’s eyes, I burst into tears. A flood of His compassionate grace and love poured over me like a mighty waterfall.

I’m thankful for long red lights, because in those few minutes, Jesus saved my life again. The fear left me, and the loneliness dissipated as I remembered that Jesus is always beside me. He’d promised never to leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), and there He was, beside me. I am exceedingly thankful that He did not leave me that day.

This brief moment of darkness is not unique to me. So many people, believers and nonbelievers alike, have had moments like this. Inexplicable. Unexpected. Overwhelming. Those who know me personally would never suspect that such mental and emotional darkness would be part of my life. But no one is exempt from hardship or temptation, not even you who are reading this. If you’re experiencing feelings like these, please get the assistance you need. There is no shame in asking for help.

In a matter of seconds, Satan can trap any one of us in a lie that grips, suffocates, and destroys. But God’s grace is greater than all the sin and darkness in this world. He is the God who saves me every day of my life. He holds my hand when I feel broken beyond repair. And He will hold your hand and your heart too, whether you’re stopped at a red light, huddled on your couch, in a hospital, or in a prison. God is always faithful. Turn your life over to Him each day; He will shower you with love and mercy.

Hold out your hand to Him and receive all that He has for you. †