Tag Archives: Comfort

When God Moves in Mysterious Ways through Mental Illness

clouded-sunrise

One of the most shocking biographies I remember reading was that of William Cowper.

Even if you don’t recognize his name, you’ve probably sung his hymns (including “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood”) or used the phrase he coined, “God moves in a mysterious way.”

It’s been years since I read his biography, but in recent research, I came across his name and reflected for a few minutes on some of the most extraordinary and meaningful aspects of his life.

Cowper’s salvation testimony is remarkable because he was saved as a direct result of admittance to a mental asylum after failed suicide attempts. The doctor who treated Cowper was a born again Christian who shared the gospel with him. The night and day difference in Cowper’s life after his salvation is undeniable.

Most of us would be very comfortable with Cowper’s testimony if it ended there. But it didn’t. Although he didn’t struggle mentally to the same degree after his salvation as he had before, he did battle mental illness (including severe depression and two more mental breakdowns) for the rest of his life.  Continue reading

Of Birds, Hope, and Ten-Year Landmarks: Why You Can Rejoice in the Storm

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I saw a date in the margin of my Bible this morning that made me start—2/26/04. It wasn’t just the date that took me by surprise, but the realization that it has been exactly ten years since that day.

I remember where I was when I wrote that date—on the top bunk in a guest room in Bowie, Texas.

I remember the verse I read just before I wrote that date. (I don’t actually have to remember that one—it’s right there in the margin of my Bible. But I remember it anyway.) Psalm 86:4, “Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.”

I remember what I did after I read that verse and wrote it in my journal. I stepped outside the guest house with a spiral notebook and sat on the back stoop to write an article for the magazine I was editing at the time. The article appeared in the June/July ’04 issue of Stepping in the Light, and it was titled “Sing, Little Bird!” The article provides some insight into that day: Continue reading

I Will Hope: 13 Practical Ways to Choose Hope

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Hope is a noun and a verb. It is what we have, and it is what we do. We who know the Lord already have hope, but we must also choose hope.

I recently did a Bible study on the word hope, and I was amazed at what I found. With 121 verses with this word (and 12 more verses when you add forms of the word), hope is all throughout Scripture. I prepared a Sunday school lesson from the study, and I had to leave out more verses than I could include!

Through my study, I compiled a list of thirteen practical ways we can choose hope. Continue reading

5 Reasons it Is Wise to Pour Out Your Heart to God

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I taught last Sunday on Hannah and her prayer in 1 Samuel 1. It turns out that Hannah’s story is about far more than intensity in prayer.

It is about a woman who poured out her heart to everyone but God. And it is about the change God worked in her when she poured out her heart to Him.

As a cross reference, we looked at Psalm 142—another account of someone who poured out his heart to God. This time, it was David in a cave.

In the seven verse from Psalm 142, we drew five reasons it is wise to pour out our hearts to God.

1. Because God hears

I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.—verses 1–2

Even when you pour out your heart to a friend, she may or may not accurately interpret the cry of your soul. God always hears, always understands, always listens with compassion. Continue reading

5 Things You Never Have to Worry About

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1. God’s love for you

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.—Jeremiah 31:3

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Romans 8:38-39

2. Christ’s presence in your life

And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.—Exodus 33:14

… for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.—Hebrews 13:5-6

3. God’s commitment to transforming you to the image of Christ

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren….What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? —Romans 8:29, 31

4. Jesus’ return for you

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.—John 14:1-3

5. Today, tomorrow…or the rest of your life.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.—Hebrews 13:8

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.—1 Peter 5:7

Sometimes we just need to refocus on God’s eternal promises. What promises are your focus points?

I Choose You

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Eleven years ago today my youngest brother, Nathaniel, was born.

Excited isn’t the word. I think I began counting down the days until his birth about two months before his due date. When my mom woke me at 3:00 a.m. to tell me she was in labor, I couldn’t contain my joy.

If excited couldn’t describe the anticipation preceding Nathaniel’s entrance into my world, I don’t know the word that could describe what I felt when I learned a few hours later that he had been stillborn. Heartbroken doesn’t even come close.

Several weeks after, a mentally challenged lady in our church said it just right: “I miss your little brother,” she commented out of nowhere. “I would have liked to have gotten to know him.” I gave her a hug and then walked outside and bawled. I would have liked to have known him, too. Continue reading

Does God Care about Your Comfort?

You’ve heard the quote: “God is more concerned with our character than our comfort.”

It’s a true statement, but it’s not the whole story.

God’s concern with our comfort depends on what kind of comfort we are talking about.

Do we mean that it is His job description to provide us with a comfortable, trouble-free life? No. That is impossible in a sin-cursed world; and frankly, it wouldn’t contribute to our Christian growth.

But do we mean that He wants us to know spiritual and emotional comfort through the difficulties we face? Absolutely! Continue reading