Heart Disease

Hearts 168457_154905807894473_110794108972310_320156_2061498_n“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”

Jeremiah 17:9, NLT

We are the wounded. What exactly has caused it isn’t always known.  A death, divorce, depression and disability are great triggers.  Some of us are chronically ill, others are mentally ill.  We struggle to hold a job, and to go to church. There are some who are reading this who are controlled by addictions.  And a few of us consider suicide on pretty much a regular basis.

We’ve been hospitalized and stigmatized, and sometimes even institutionalized. And at times we endure massive attacks of fear and anxiety.  We are not easily understood, and we hear the whispers.  Our paranoia can often saturate what what we are thinking, (I think its more like a “marinade.”  Our brains just soak it up.)  Most of us are ‘walking wounded.’ We limp physically, and figuratively with equal pain.

“For thus says the LORD: Your hurt is incurable,
    and your wound is grievous.”

Jeremiah 30:12, ESV

If we are honest (and God insists on a rigorous honesty) we realize that we are a mess!  The prophet Jeremiah had a tremendous understanding of the human condition, and was never beguiled by the lie of pride, arrogance and selfishness.  He declares that we are diseased down to the core, like a rotten apple.

At times we continue in our favorite style of darkness.  And havoc sporadically rips through us and we become “disaster areas.”  How very sad, and profoundly tragic.

But you must understand this powerful fact.  Jesus Christ has been sent by the Father to save and cleanse all who come to Him.

“At that time a fountain will be open for David’s descendants and for the people of Jerusalem to cleanse them of their sin and uncleanness.”

Zechariah 13:1, NCV

“Children, it’s time for a bath,” and what God has done provides us the only way to “get better.” Some of us have carried staggering burdens for decades.  But I must be truthful. Our afflictions may continue to disturb us.  If you are bipolar or depressed, it just could be you’ll remain so.  But I know first-hand that our Father will give us an extra ration of grace.

In the Old Testament, family patriarchs could give an additional portion to a son he especially loved.  All were blessed, but some more so. That peculiar proclivity of our Father is why some of us with deep wounds can follow closer than others who are healthy.

“For I am the LORD, your healer.” Ex. 15:26

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“The treatment a wound gets decides whether time will bring healing or bondage.”

&

ybic, Bryan

kyrie elesion. (Lord, have mercy on each reader)

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The School of Friends

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“As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”

1 Samuel 18:1

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”

Ruth 1:16

The quality of our lives can be measured by our friends.  It takes some of us a very long time to understand this.  Often we have this mistaken belief that other things are immensely important, and we strive to make these qualities relevant and significant.  But the Spirit of God is on a whole different board, and He is wondering why we aren’t there with Him. It’s time to catch-up!

To be a friend– a companion, is a significant undertaking.  It involves channeling ones love and commitment to someone other than family.  If we have become someone’s friend, our dedication to that person can be measured. (Not everything is intangible).  So what will friendship require?  My answer is simply this:  All that is needful for the present moment.

Something ‘clicked’ inside of Jonathan when he talked with David.  There was something of understanding and an affinity that was created between them.  As I read this account I realize that this friendship was what was exactly needed for David to survive the conflicts he was coming into.  Now it certainly wasn’t the full answer, but friendship would certainly help lift him above the fray.

Ruth had this exceptional relationship with Naomi.  Ruth was locked on and quite intensely has made a strong verbal and volitional commitment to Naomi.  She is so sincere here as she makes a vow to follow and to serve.  She ‘shuts down’ her agenda and goals in order to live life through Naomi’s experience.  What a generous humility and gentleness!

“Don’t forget your friend or your parent’s friend.”

Proverbs 27:10

Both Jonathan and Ruth embraced their new calling.  Friendship is a cavern chiseled out to be an amphitheater.  It is a whole bigger and more expansive than we ever thought possible.  Its borders and boundaries go far beyond than a Wednesday night poker game with your buddies.

Recovering this new understanding of biblical friendship can be revitalizing.  When we see the fruits we wonder how we will ever transverse the path of discipleship without companionship.  It is noteworthy to point out that Jesus sent out His disciples ‘two by two’.  Sometimes, it will involve a radical (extreme) shift in thinking.  However, there can be an incredible boost coming from this relationship.

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”   

Helen Keller

*

ybic, Bryan

kyrie elesion.

 

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The Hours

When clinical depression is “on-the-clock” it can be sheer agony. It resists and lingers, sometimes for days and days. (It can last for months if untreated.) But it seems that it is these “hours” that are scarcely endurable. It’s truly all this “wasted” time that can seem most unbearable to the afflicted.

“I was mute and silent,
I refrained even from good,
And my sorrow grew worse.”

–Psalm 39:2, NASB

Depressed people tend to suffer in silence and isolate themselves from the outside world. When you’re depressed, you feel less motivated to go out, make contact, socialize or participate in activities, or doing anything at all. It’s all you can do just to get out of bed.

Days, even weeks can go by without wanting to see anyone or talk to anyone. This aggravates feelings of isolation. Often depressed people do not want to talk about their problem or simply feel misunderstood.

Similarly, prolonged and intense feelings of depression can lead to loneliness. Treating the symptoms of depression may help resolve the problem but it isn’t a sure thing. Finding good relationships can push you out of a depression. Loneliness often fuels my depression. Find understanding friends that you can talk with.

unbelieving-believersBeating depression or loneliness does not start with having more friends, or a relationship, although it can help. It really starts from within and is a process that takes time and care. We can be tempted to scrap friendships because they’re a lot of work. But they maybe one of the keys to healing. Experience has taught me that humans go through life in patterns. (We ‘ll do the same thing over and over again.) Even in different situations, these patterns will be repeated and simply generate the same results. A friend can be a new and strategic solution to breaking free.

It is a good thing to know that Jesus Christ sees and understands. 

But it’s also good to have someone with “skin on.”  Someone you can see and touch.  That’s precisely why we have the Church.  People who believe and touch each other deeply, helping each other up.  Depression does not do very well in the true Body of Christ.

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:1-2

Dear broken believer, take solace in the people in the church. Learn to confide with those who understand. Sometimes I wonder if God has arranged my mental illness so that I will reach out to others. Perhaps He allows it to bless His Church?

“The church is not a select circle of the immaculate, but a home where the outcast may come in. It is not a palace with gate attendants and challenging sentinels along the entrance-ways holding off at arm’s-length the stranger, but rather a hospital where the broken-hearted may be healed, and where all the weary and troubled may find rest and take counsel together.” 

–James H. Aughey

aabryplain

 

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