He Thought Suicide Was His Only Escape, Until...
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“The poorest places. No heating or air. Broken glass everywhere,” Josh said describing his childhood home. “Rarely, open the blinds. Really, really dark.”
‘Depression’ was commonplace in Josh Marcengill’s world. Growing up in a small, poverty-stricken town in South Carolina, he, his older brother and father struggled to find hope.
“The world wasn't good,” he said plainly, “it was hard. And my idea was that life is pretty terrible and pretty much a curse on all of us. Hope was in a very short supply.”
As he grew older, his thoughts became darker.
“Somewhere between 10 and 13, I'm all the way in to suicidal thoughts.” Josh continued, “I don’t remember a day that I didn't feel like it. Like it was every single day.”
His mother took him to church, even there, Josh felt a profound sense of failure.
Josh remembers, “Everyone saying, ‘if we continue to sin, then we would go to hell.’ Life is painful enough. ‘If I’m going to Hell, why would I spend time in church? For a God that's never gonna help me?’
Josh quieted his thoughts of suicide with typical teenage rebellion – cigarettes, drugs and drinking. But the ‘quiet’ ended shortly after he turned 15.
“My father committed suicide,” Josh remembered. “And that was dark and difficult. My dad was my best friend. It was maybe six weeks after my dad committed suicide that I attempted suicide for the first time.”
Two weeks later he was returning from a mental institution after slicing his wrists.
Josh dropped out of school and dove into drugs and sex to quiet his ever-present thoughts of suicide, and growing sense of failure.
“Instead of the thoughts talking to me, they're screaming at me. And they feel more real and more close,” he said fearfully. “I remember telling a lot of people that I would be dead before I was thirty.”
One day, while working a part time job at a video store, his manager suggested he try going to college.
“Woah, like how could somebody think that someone like me could go to college,” Josh questioned. “It was a glimmer of hope and I thought, ‘Wow, I think I should try that.’"
Josh went on to get his GED and enrolled in community college. But at age 20 he received some all too familiar news…
“I get a call that my brother had committed suicide. You know, just devastating, realizing that he was completely gone. He would never be back,” Josh remembered. “But the interesting thing was that, that morning my brother and I shared a moment. He said, ‘Hey Josh,’ and I said, ‘Yeah?’ And he said, ‘Man I just want you to know that I love you.’”
Josh would attempt to take his own life five more times in the coming few years.
At the same time, he poured himself into his studies, believing a degree and a good job, would ultimately prove he had worth, and wasn’t a failure.
“My biggest enemy was poverty,” he said confidently, “and college felt like an opportunity to create a better life.”
Josh’s hard work paid off and in 2007 he graduated top of his class with an MBA and landed a ‘dream job’ at a fortune 500 company.
In the end, it did nothing to ease his troubled heart, and mind.
“In every respect, I was successful. It was every dream that I had ever been able to have for myself. And then I'm still feeling like empty inside and like just everything's worthless,” Josh said somberly. “I remember just sitting there in my downtown apartment and I'm crying and just feeling completely defeated. And so I said, ‘God if You’re real, would you please just do away with me? Would you please take my life?’”
Josh says it was then he had a vision, filled with attacking demons and encouraging saints. At one point, a man appeared to him and offered to take his pain away. Josh knew the man was Jesus.
“I thought, ‘Wow, who is Jesus? Like, how did I miss this about Him,’” Josh said curiously. “He's staring at me with these kind eyes and He's like, ‘Josh, I can take it from here.’"
Though Josh wasn’t sure exactly what to make of the vision, he was about to find out. He quit his stressful, unfulfilling job, then shortly after, he went to a church to hear a friend – a pastor.
“My friend began giving a message about a relationship with Jesus. I mean, it just had to have been what God had planned for me to hear,” Josh said with enthusiasm. “I ran up to him afterwards and I grabbed him by his shoulders and I'm like shaking him ‘You have to help me have a relationship with Jesus.’ And I accepted Christ that day and it was wonderful. I felt release. It just felt like maybe God does have a plan for my life.”
Josh began building a new life in Christ and says within the year, God delivered him from his depression, and all suicidal thoughts.
“There was no presence of anxiety. And I was able to hold onto peace,” Josh smiled, “Just to grab a hold of the presence of God.”
Today, Josh is on staff at his church and runs the Bibles for All ministry with his wife Mary. He no longer feels like a failure, and instead is grateful to have peace in Jesus.
“Just to think about the reality,” Josh began, “that Jesus had taken me as this broken, hurting child and had brought me into such a place. It was everything I'd ever wanted. And I just realized that, ‘Wow, life is meaningful.’”
To learn more about Josh and Mary’s ‘Bible’s for All’ ministry, check the link below
Bibles for All Ministries, Inc. is a 501c3 missions organization that has been working with indigenous missionaries in India to help get Bibles into the hands of people throughout the Himalayas and around the world sense the 1980’s. We believe that missions can build hope, share the gospel of Jesus Christ and save the planet without compromise to establish revival for ours and future generations to come. For more on Sustainable Missions, Sabbath Missions, Team Building Consulting and our ministry efforts visit us at www.biblesforall.com
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