A Rockhoof and a Hard Place, Bible, Christian Life, Christianity, depression, devotional, encouragement, God, hopelessness, inspirational, Jesus, love, motivational, New Testament, Old Testament, Rockhoof, support, Yona
Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “A Rockhoof and a Hard Place”
This episode gets into some pretty dark territory, but important territory. The idea of a character on the show actually contemplating suicide was around as early as Season Six’s “No Second Prances”, but it didn’t come as true to real life as it did here. Although Rockhoof was only talking about being turned into a statue in a reversible situation, the implication was very real. Especially more so when considering the background. A stallion who had missed out on the last 1,000 years and came into a world where everything he had ever known was gone, dead, and buried for centuries. He went from a time where he was heralded as a hero and a champion to, within a blink of an eye in his view, a place where he was a klutz and a failure who couldn’t even get the most menial of jobs.
The situation fits the mentality that many veterans, including those returning home from war to this day and especially those with PTSD, have: what place is there for them in a world where their greatest talent no longer means anything? The answer that many of them come up with, as well as many others experiencing similar feelings, is that there is no place at all. And when that happens, many people end up drawing the same conclusion Rockhoof did…that if there is no place for them in the world, they should take themselves out of it.
I’ve had some very dark times in my life, as alluded to in my earlier devotionals. I’ve been in some low places. And at those times my mind has turned to the lowest choice of all. I will say I never got to the point where I made a serious attempt on it. (The farthest I ever got was I had made the noose and picked out a place to hang it.) As one who has been in that situation, though, I can say two things.
- The last thing you ever want to do to a person contemplating suicide, especially if they’re a Christian, is to try and scare or even threaten them out of it by telling them God will send them straight to Hell for it. That might work in some cases, but if the person is already feeling so low and worthless and unloved by everything in Earth and Heaven there’s a chance that last statement might be the last thing they need to convince them that God hates them and, therefore, they have absolutely no worth and nothing to live for. So they might as well go through with it if they’re going to Hell either way.
- Far more importantly, the biggest thing that made the difference between me being sunk in depression and entertaining thoughts of ending it all was a feeling of total worthlessness. I was convincing myself that no one, including my family, my friends, my parents, God, Lord Jesus, etc., had any need to have me around and that my very life had no meaning to them. That I had nothing to offer anyone anywhere and I was essentially a lump of flesh taking up space.
Rockhoof was definitely feeling the second of these things. He was ready and committed to end it all; thinking it was better to let his memory die while he was still a hero rather than spend the rest of his years being nothing.
What brought him out of it, though? A little girl coming up to him and telling him how much he meant to her, and that she wanted to be just like him when she grew up.
It didn’t snap him out of his funk all together. He was still depressed and still thinking about ending it all. However…it did make him think that maybe he could hold off long enough to tell one more story.
Similar to me, my depression didn’t magically go away from what one person ever said to me. Not even when they came up to me and told me how sad they’d be if I was gone and how much my time with them meant to them. Nothing ever works quite that fast. However, it did make me think: “Maybe I should hold on until tomorrow…see how I feel then.”
Feelings of worthlessness, the thought that one has nothing to offer anyone and that one has no value to anybody, are some of the worst feelings imaginable. If you’re young, you may think that you’re immune to them. That you can just keep yourself happy forever and that you’re fine being alone. One day you will wake up, look around yourself, and ask yourself what impact you’re making on the world and what people would remember you when you’re gone. You’ll ask yourself if you really did make the world better for anyone or if anyone would miss you if you weren’t there. I hope the answer at that time is positive, but I myself have had it be negative and I know what that’s like. It’s not a good place to be.
However, the nice thing about all this is that this is one of the easiest things we can counter in others.
Yona demonstrated that in this episode with her flattering essay to Rockhoof, but it doesn’t even take that much. Just being conscious enough to say you enjoy seeing someone, that you like spending time with them, that you appreciate their presence…small little things here and there…it makes all the difference in the world. Taking time out to build someone up just a tiny bit. Not just when a person is at rock bottom as I’ve said above. Some days I’m in a foul, horrendous mood. I’m grumpy about everything and feeling discouraged and irritable. All it takes is one unexpected talk with a friend or family member or a nice comment on one of my fanfictions to suddenly make me feel better about everything. To be ready to seize the day once again, and even to “take up my cross and keep walking” again. (I can attest that I was perfectly ready to give up on something before, I heard one nice word, and all of the sudden I was ready to tackle it all over again.)
When Paul wrote to the church of the Thessalonians with advice on how the community could live a Christian lifestyle, he included: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Likewise, one of my favorite Proverbs is: “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25) I would go so far as to say probably the easiest and simplest way to be as Christ to both the community and to everyone around us is to simply say an encouraging word or two every day to those we meet. Not to mention I can’t think of anyone I would rather like having around than someone who always made it a point to build up people around them.
My suggestion for this devotional is for everyone to start making a word of encouragement or gratitude for a person just “being themselves” a healthy habit. Especially to those you may have noticed you haven’t said anything in a while to or people in your life who seem to constantly be down. You might end up making someone’s day, week, month, lifetime, or, just maybe, eternity.
Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you that you have vowed never to leave me or forsake me, and that you have loved me with an everlasting love. Thank you also that this does not change regardless of my fears, doubts, failures, and anxieties. If I find myself beset by these, help me to cling to this fact and focus on what you have envisioned for me. And if I am feeling well, then I pray today I may be your word of encouragement to everyone who is currently suffering from depression and hopelessness, and that I may never take those around me for granted. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”