Prov. 4:6 - Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
It is often said with age comes wisdom. I have found this not to be true. Wisdom only comes from the Lord. Wisdom as referenced in Proverbs is the Messiah Himself. For us who live since the cross, this is Christ.
Bethy's blog Choosing a Title brought much reflection. The lady she mentioned openly sharing struggles with mental illness greatly challenged me.
I have felt for some time a "call" to be minister to others who face suffering from mental illness. I start to thinking, 'Lord, look at where I am after battling for over four decades. What do I have to offer anyone when I'm so broken? You know the laundry list of diagnoses. Severe Mental illness (SMI) with comorbidity of refractory major depression, acute pain attack disorder, agoraphobia, and OCD.'
'Really Lord, what do I have to offer anyone?' Even in my current state of almost giving up on just about everything and everyone … He still spoke. 'Now you get the point. You were never intended to offer anything other than your availability (show up). It is My power and word lived and spoken through you. Quite frankly, it does not have anything to do with you. Merely to obediently show up for Me and others at the time and place called.'
The rebuke and teaching was firm but gentle. I thought of a sign I saw today of a Rev. Dr. speaking at a particular church. Smiling, I often wonder why an individual is so confused about who they are … a Reverend or a Dr.? God posed a question. Would I rather spend 30 minutes with them or the same amount of time with my grandmother who knew him for +85 years?
She graduated from High School in the 1920's and would never dream of giving an exegetical Greek transliteration word study and its profound meaning. She only loved and cared as if were you were the only person in the world. Oh the simplicity. The Lord spoke again.
'For you and all other hurting, broken, and barely holding on … what do you what? Well Lord, to know someone loves and really cares.' This is done in a life available and surrendered. There stands Jesus and a true minister of His love, power, and Spirit.
All the other stuff is fine but is mental gymnastics apart from His love. The tax collectors, prostitutes, and 'sinners' looked for Jesus because they found love, acceptance, and forgiveness. He poured out Himself loving people the world and religious leaders rejected as outcasts and beyond repair. The Lord spent the majority of time touching and putting together those shattered into millions of pieces. Interesting how the money betraying Christ was used to purchase the potter's field. A place of discarded and rejected work thrown away. God does not seem to see things this way.
Matt. 27:7 - So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners.(NIV)
The Lord took me back to a poem in When all seems lost God is there: https://www.christianblog.com/blog/doneuntotheleast/when-all-seems-lost-god-is-there/
As I read the poem of October a year ago it seemed light years away. I remembered how close I felt to the Lord as He spoke the words. Also, the extreme realization these words were absolutely from the Spirit. Not a thing to do with me - only to be available for His use.
And there it is crystal clear. Quit making things such a struggle. Remember even when hurting, allow heart to remain open and available. God can minister to needs and maybe if I stay out of the way … He will speak to another just being His vessel.
Gal. 6:9 - Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)
I do pray to not neglect showing God's goodness, mercy, faithfulness, justice, grace, and love in life. To do so I must let God reside, for then there is Love.
I John 4:16 - We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (NASB)
God Loves You - Jaci Velasquez
Attributions: New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © Biblica, Inc.® All rights reserved worldwide.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright ©The Lockman Foundation
I burst out into tears as I read these words you wrote:
> Quit making things such a struggle. Remember even when hurting, allow heart to remain open and available. God can minister to needs and maybe if I stay out of the way ¦ He will speak to another just being His vessel.
I found my way back to this blog today and as I am writing this reply, I am listening to "Wonderful Merciful Savior" on the blog you linked to it. Les, when I "look" at you, I do not see "Severe Mental illness (SMI) with comorbidity of refractory major depression, acute pain attack disorder, agoraphobia, and OCD". I see Christ not only in you but working through you. To me you are a living example of these words: "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
I do not know a single person who has more compassion for those who struggle with mental illness. In fact, I have witnessed that even as you battle your own fierce storms, when you hear the cry of someone else floundering, you reach out to them. That truly is amazing and it can only be done because of Christ.
You remind me that "our laundry list" of issues and challenges does NOT have us... God does and through Him, we are made overcomers but it gets even better. We are MORE than conquerors and I believe that means we do not merely conquer; God uses our living, breathing testimony to demonstrate to others that He is bigger than any giant we can ever face and that Jesus is Victor!