Quite a few years ago, I journeyed from off the beaten path in Alaska to Cambridge, England. It was there I somehow found myself on the streets talking to myself; alone, disoriented and quite lost. It was June of 2002 and I had just been released from a mental hospital in Alaska, and was under the care of a psychiatrist, I headed out without his approval. But here I was now all alone in a country I had never visited before. My confusion was profound. I was desperately, mentally ill.
I noticed the stares and the whispers as wandered the streets. Or maybe it was just my raging paranoia. But yet there’s more. Much more. On just a mildly benign occasion I wandered into the English version of a Wal-mart. I was in a dreary daze, but I thought I ‘heard’ a 5 foot bush call out as I walked by. I just knew my calling was a prophet. I was Moses. Who also heard God from a bush! 😇 (Exodus 3:2).
My chosen, eternal destiny was to save it. I grabbed and scootched it toward the check-out line. After a few minutes the bush was insanely heavy and I saw that the line was very long. After some time I finally abandoned the tree in the middle of the check-out line. It seems I did have some moments of clarity, even at my strangest. It was a weird experience. (What can I say, I’m a sucker for talking bushes.)
I was told later that over hundred people were praying for me.
Finally, at my worst, I reached into my pack and there was this CD. I began to listen to it, and imperceptibly began to be restored to some semblance of sanity. My thinking was clearer and I would finally find my way back to where I was staying. One song on the CD in particular ministered to me. It’s called “Kyrie Eleison,” which is Latin for “Lord Have Mercy.” (The link below will take you there.)
THere it is on YouTube, https://youtube.com/watch?v=u4gCZc6CzLQ
Kyrie Eleison Lyrics
Empty broken here I stand,
Touch me with Your healing hand,
Take my arrogance and pride,
wash me in Your mercy’s tide,
When my faith is all but gone,
Give me strength to carry on,
when my dreams have turned to dust,
In You O Lord I put my trust,
When my heart is cold as ice,
Your love speaks of sacrifice,
Love that sets the captives free,
O pour compassion down on me,
You’re the voice that calms my fears,
You’re the laughter dries my tears,
You’re the music, my refrain,
Help me sing my song again,
Humble heart of holiness,
Kiss me with Your tenderness,
Jesus, faithful Friend and true,
All I am I give to You,
THere it is on YouTube, https://youtube.com/watch?v=u4gCZc6CzLQ
As a person with a mental illness, it seems my issues are a matter of extremes. Life seems uncontrollable; the wheels seem to always ready to come off of the wagon. It strikes me as a semi-crazed place to be. I look at the “norms” with envy, as their lives are crisp, healthy, and strong.
I once met a man that had a prophetic ministry who was speaking at a local church here in Alaska. When I met with him, he looked at me intently. He said many things, but the most significant was this. “You are an unstable man; you are like water.” This was almost 30 years ago. It has been an accurate prophecy and assessment since I heard it. At first it stung, I hated it; but now, all these years later, I find a certain comfort in it. God knows me; He understands. I haven’t found any reason to be condemned for being Bipolar.
Those of us who walk the tightrope of sanity and insanity have One in heaven who not only knows us, but is on our side. Hebrews 7:25 declares:
“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
I must realize that I am not the “bad apple in the barrel,” nor am I cursed. Rather the opposite is true. I am the richest of all men, because of His radical grace that gets extended to the weakest. Those who “touch” my life are blessed by their contact with me, and since I have been so unnaturally “graced,” they become blessed by His presence through me. WOW! I simply need to be me, and they are drawn to you.
The issues that a mentally ill person (and those who are often a struggler and a rascal) faces are formidable. But without His promises they are impossible. The secular view is just to create a “zero sum” game. It is to bring a person to some stupefied place of stasis. Not exactly up–but not down either. Stable, sort of.
It is very good to be stable. But my goal can not be stability, but an obedience to a supernatural God who loves me supernaturally. I simply can’t live without knowing that. However, when I know it, I can handle the tightrope. I will start to walk a “supernatural” walk.
You could say that God has a hobby, or a specialty. It is weak and handicapped people.
He loves working with us and in us. And I have become very much convinced that He pours out special favor on those of us who struggle so difficulty, those of us who will never fit in or be ‘normal.’
We need to come to that real and authentically holy place where we see God. But also in that place, and at the same time, we need to see ourselves as well. And actually, both are most critical. They are done imperfectly— but both must happen, nevertheless.
I exhort you to take on your tightrope. You will only stay upright and cross it if you are aware of His grand love and presence. It is an amazing thing to balance and walk, and if we fall? Well, we drop into His net. Get back up, and get in line again. Secure your heart into the love of God for your soul.
- Living the life of a professional tightrope walker (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Handles (brokenbelievers.com)
- Tightrope Walkers And Tourist Dollars (webnerhouse.com)
“Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
In some odd way, our lives seem to be always getting interrupted by God. And it can happen a lot. We need to see the invisible. When we can, it can be quite amazing. Our night sky here in Alaska is wonderful. (And I’m a “sky guy”, it means I’m always looking up.) But the most phenomenal night skies were in Mexico, while camping on the beach. As I laid there I looked and the Milky Way was on full display. It really was as good as it could be. It seemed there was 10x more stars than ever before.
Once as I gazed up, a weird sort of fear gripped me, it was almost a panic. I started to tremble and shake. I got up and ran to our tent. I just couldn’t handle the incredible universe with no buffer. I was completely undone, and reduced a quivering speck of dust. I tried to tell my wife Lynn what had just happened to me, but I couldn’t. I was too scrambled. I couldn’t speak.
Reflecting on this, I realize now what I had experienced was “awe.” It was something much more common a few generations ago. There is a kind of existential crisis which we side-step in these more modern times. We rarely contemplate the night sky. We seldom, if ever, have seen fire in a bush.
It seems we have traded our awareness of an Almighty God, and in turn we get to pick all blackberries we can haul. We reason it out, and we feel that we have made a better bargain. But when we extricate this from our souls, don’t be surprised if we suddenly find that we have become spiritual paupers.
Maybe we should learn to see through things; each of us have the opportunity now to see the spiritual world that swirls around us. Why wait for heaven? Ask our Father to reveal His glory now in this present moment. Learn to see that which can’t be seen, but by faith.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies announce what his hands have made.”
Psalms 19:1, NCV