(Note: Many of you've read this blog and may not want too again but I hope you listen to the song added. When first written, I didn't know how to import songs, this is a favorite many years andseems to be a recurring thread in many writings the past weeks. Hope it ministers to you as much as it has me.)
Reading your comments on "Christians, Mental Illness and Job Description", you brought tears to my eyes. Paul considered his sufferings” light afflictions” while beaten and shipwrecked three times, also stoned and left for dead (II Cor. 4, II Cor. 11).
I read of great trials and suffering many of you are living with or have been through. I thought why (did) do I complain so quickly and much? Easy, I don't want God to reveal my selfishness and wicked heart. I want what I want...
Like crowds following Jesus, they sought Him only for their wants to be met (including the 500 disciples in John 6). Seekers of signs, miracles and wonders (John 4) until things got tough.
After years of praying ('complaining'), fasting, “believing,” etc. for healing, God showed me what I didn't want to see. Firmly but tenderly as only The Holy Spirit can do, God revealed I really wanted healing more than Him.
Ashamed and humbled, I was befuddled by this gracious freedom and love as truth pierced my heart's true nature. I didn't want “spiritual and right” healing (as by God's design and timing). Rather, selfish, sinful and wicked healing like a spoiled child, wanting healing now!
God seized the opening, to reveal hard truth and continued the process of true inner healing through continuing to form me into the likeness of His Son (Phil. 1:6). In the midst of unwelcomed truth, the sense of enveloping and abiding love surrounded!
If God loved me while yet a sinner and not interested in His Kingdom, I shouldn't be amazed He would love me right through all those selfish “prayers” (demands) for healing but still am. I'd be one of the nine lepers who didn't return (Luke 17). Excited, finally got what I wanted, off on my way I go!
I remain amazed daily how much God unconditionally loves me! Unconditionally, God continues to love me through Jesus. God pursued me in great lengths, over decades, removing blinders of selfish sin and want. All while “disguised” in the pursuit of good spiritual gifts.
It's clear now, life as a disciple of Christ decades down the road is no different than the first day I came to Him. The Christian life is not lived in my strength and was never intended so. Rather, not I living life for it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me (Gal. 2:20).
Now, I'll try to comfort those with the comfort I've received (II Cor. 1:4) though told point blank,” until I'm healed I have no ministry to others with similar afflictions (mental illness), as all Christians who have faith scripture says should be healed” .
Through his grace and love, I now try walking daily as one seeing life must be lived as one overcoming (Rom. 8:28 – 39) in Christ. Then others may be comforted. On this, I rest and put my trust in Christ Jesus.
That was a brilliant blog full of truth beaten out in the dust and arid places that you have camped in.
[quote]I really wanted healing more than Him.[/quote]
A most 'telling point' that I pray many will take note of and by so doing come into Gods glory.
If only we could all come to the realization that He is our all-in-all. My first introduction to this was when I read in Job, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." That is still one of my most treasured verses. This life is so short and this world is passing away. Our hope must be in Jesus Christ and nothing else. However difficult this life may be it is still, "Jesus Christ in me, the hope of glory." Excellent thoughts in this blog and I thank God that you wrote it.
[quote]Now, I'll try to comfort those with the comfort I've received (II Cor. 1:4)[/quote]
That is dead on!
[quote] though told point blank," until I'm healed I have no ministry to others with similar afflictions (mental illness), as all Christians who have faith scripture says should be healed"[/quote]
The people who said that are saying utter nonsense and you are right. We should not listen to that sort of thing one bit.
Don't you just love the fourth chapter of Second Corinthians? That is one of my favorite chapters. It always has been. A few weeks before I started chemo, I picked up a New Living Translation Bible at the bookstore and flipped it open to 2 Corinthians 4. I gasped because this was how this particular passage was translated:
[quote]That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18[/quote]
That spoke to me so much in regards to what I was facing that I printed those words using pink ink and mounted and framed those words. Even now, if I look up and to the left of me, I can see them hanging on the wall above my head as I type this comment.
I do not wish, in any way to take away from those who endure persecution as a result of their faith. I simply cannot imagine the pain and great suffering they and their families endure. We need to pray for the suffering church and give whatever aid we can. However, I believe there are also those who are "imprisoned" in their own bodies. They deal with physical and/or mental illness on a daily basis BUT... they never give up. Despite their limitations, despite their weakness, despite their fear they just... well... they just keep on "walking". Okay, sometimes they may be flat on their face inching along but despite their infirmities, they just keep clinging to God.
[quote]The Christian life is not lived in my strength and was never intended so[/quote]
[quote]" until I'm healed I have no ministry to others with similar afflictions (mental illness), as all Christians who have faith scripture says should be healed"[/quote]
Did I miss the bit in scripture where it says exactly where and when this is going to happen? Or may be these people are of the 'real Christians don't get sick' brigade!
Les, it is some 5 1/2 years since I was diagnosed and operated on for a brain tumour. I didn't ask God to take it away, I told Him that 'I Refused to Fear!" That four word declaration has turned my life upside down and the peace that I now have is far greater than I imagined was ever possible to experience. All God asks is that we trust Him so that He can direct us to the place where He wants us to be of service and to be blessed. Doing what God says is so much more exciting than doing what man says. God has my vote
PS Thank you for contributing another great blog!