The title is from https://i-m-4-u.com/2013/07/14/forgiving-can-be-tough/ and captures part of my struggle. The other part is that I definitely need to know more. And yet the two are intertwined.
God will not give me more instruction if I am not doing what he has already given me. If I want to know more I have to actually do more of what he has already said . That’s the hard part.
Or is it? I have the most fun when I am obeying God.
I think for me it is the process of deciding to obey God that is the toughest part. I have to risk, and trust Him that what I don’t want to do now is exactly what I will be glad I did later. Many times I feel alone when deciding. (This may be why I need to be part of a small group). No matter what help I have, it is in the end my decision. And if I want to know more, if I want to experience Jesus closer to me, I must obey Him.
I am grateful to God for the mental illness He gave me. (But I would never want to repeat it). Looking back I was “crazier” when I was “sane” and sane now that I’m mentally ill.
Let me unpack that.
Before mental illness I wanted to be a aerospace engineer. I wanted to impress people with how smart I was. I wanted fame, fortune, power and pleasure. I had bought the whole commercial-driven American media world-view.
Most of the girls in my high school graduation class wanted to be social workers it seemed. I thought they were crazy. Helping people seemed like a colossal, boring, unrewarding waste of time.
It was at this point that God publicly invaded my private world. God told me I was a sinner, but I didn’t believe Him. What I didn’t know was that I was in love with myself, looked down on everyone else, and thought the world should serve me. That’s when God gave me mental illness. And my life and the lies I told myself, about myself, fell with a great crash. God humbled me. I couldn’t get much “lower” in superficial stereo-typed status than being intermittently locked up in mental hospitals.
For the next ten years I fought God and the meds. At the end of ten years God gave me the wisdom to take the meds. Then He sent Bonnie, who knew and loved Jesus, to tell me Jesus loved me. I wasn’t interested. Then Bonnie told me that if I rejected the love of Jesus, the only thing left for me was hell.
That got my attention.
I chose to turn around and follow Jesus.
He forgave me, loved me and gave me a heart that cared about other people. Now I am a Certified Peer Support Specialist working with others who themselves deal with mental illness. I encourage, give hope, and care. And I love it. It took most of my life to discover my life’s work. And it took going “crazy” to discover what real sanity is.
According to perception, Jesus was a failure. He was tortured, mocked, beaten, and spat upon. His followers ran. One of His friends had turned Him over to His enemies. His only defense was to validate the charge against Him. One of those closest to Him, denied that he ever knew Him, in order not to experience His fate. The thousands that had heard Him preach and experienced His miracles didn’t show up.
He was buried and His own disciples didn’t expect Him to rise from the dead as He had claimed He would. Guards posted at His tomb said His disciples stole His body. No reputable government official ever saw Him after that. It was over. It was finished. It was done.
Yet the reality is that Jesus won the ultimate victory for all time! He conquered death when He was raised from the dead. His followers stopped running and, once filled with His Spirit, risked their lives boldly proclaiming that He was alive, that only He was King, and forgiveness of sins is found only in Him.
His message of God’s unconditional love for everyone has never stopped growing. Though many have tried to stop Jesus and His love, they have all met with or will meet with, ultimate failure.
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”.
And so, in the end, Jesus words, the words of the Bible, are the only Reality.
While God never does anything evil, He does do things that on the surface appear to be bad. That is, until His wisdom is proved right by its results (Jesus said that wisdom is justified by its children). I said to God when I was in my late teens that I wanted to be a Christian like they were in the Bible . I wanted God to tell me how pleased he was with me, and congratulate me on how well I have done so far and that I was so close to being perfect. Instead God told me I was “a sinner.” Not your average church going sinner that we all are, but evil, vile, repulsive. I recoiled at what He said about me. I said, “No, I’m not” twice to Him. And then He gave me mental illness for ten years.
Now, I have said that “God gave me mental illness” to others and they have “corrected” me and said that God “allowed” me to have mental illness. They said that He was not responsible for giving me mental illness. Yet, when I rebelled against Him, He said He would “humble me for ten years.” And what followed the statement was mental illness for ten years.
Dr. Charles F. Stanley of In Touch says that if God does something that we think is “bad” but God uses it for good, isn’t it ultimately “good” for us? I wouldn’t wish mental illness on anyone. Yet, now that I have the right meds and the pain is over I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Because God used it to change me from being fake nice and self-centered, to being willing to surrender to Him and being very concerned about other people.
If you are going through something that is bad, God may be using it for your ultimate good. He will only keep you in a problem until you have learned what He knows you need to learn. And any pain you endure will not be wasted. You will be able to offer credible help to others in a similar situation. And the joy you experience helping others through what you went through will make the former pain worth it.