This is a figurine I bought for Steve when he became depressed the first time. It is called "Onward Christian Soldier" and shows a warrior banged up and battle-worn with bandaids, scrapes and bruises.
Last night I left Steve in a psychiatric hospital. I didn't "leave" him there, although that's how it felt. He was admitted to get help for some result of medications... or result of the wrong medication. We don't know what it is, so he is there with the experts. Thank God for psychiatrists, psycho-pharmacologists, research scientists and hospitals where there is help. On the way to the hospital, we both cried but when I left, he was okay. In fact, much better than the other three times he has been admitted to such a facility. He is not actually depressed; he started having hallucinations three days ago. This scared both of us and we knew he had to be evaluated.
I am sneaking into his blog today to post a piece I wrote a couple of months ago for Steve. I came across this verse in Isaiah during my morning devotions and thought of my noble and amazing husband, one of the bravest people and the most honorable man I have ever met. He would blush to know I am publishing this on HIS blog, but that is a liberty I will take to express my feelings and use a privilege of marriage to share.
Oh, well, Steve; when the cat's away, the mice..well you know the rest.
Here is my essay, or my blog; well, these are my feelings about my Steve.
A Noble Man
One day when God was planning His universe, He decided to save a young teenage boy named Noble. Before he met Christ, he wasn’t really noble at all, but who is? God knew his heart would be changed and He had great plans for him but most of all, God knew he would be obedient.
When this young kid was saved, he had some bumps and rough edges to be sanded off. He had a good heart though, and read his bible with a voraciousness that could only come from the heart of God. So as he read, he began to grow. He had unusual insight for a new Christian but he also had a fear of public speaking. So over a period of time with individual study and discipleship in his local church, he began to sense God’s call on his life to full-time ministry. He got over the fear of speaking. After all, since God had given him the gift of pastor/teacher, He had to help him in that area. And Noble blossomed. He handled the Word of God in such a way, that when people heard him preach, they were astounded at his giftedness. He finished his education and had a landmark ordination. He answered the questions the gentlemen posed in such a way, that they were amazed at this young man's ability to handle the Word of God and discuss the issues of his theology and his ordination.
As he was planning for his life’s work in ministry, God began to develop Nobel for the ministry that HE had in mind. God gave this trusted, honorable man, a disease that affected his strength to such a point, he could barely carry on with life. Weak does not begin to describe this illness. You see, it was an illness of the mind; the worst malady known to humankind. For when a man’s body is sick, he can sustain his illness but who can bear up under a wounded spirit? This illness, although the most painful was also the most misunderstood. When Noble became sick, no one knew he was ill. He and his family hid it, because, of all things, they were ashamed. Ashamed of something from the hand of God? How can that be? Well, when something as confusing and debilitating as this happened to Noble, he and his family didn’t have a clue what to do. If you don’t know what a disease is, how can you seek a cure? Who do you even consult?
Since this was an unknown malady and humans being afraid of things they don’t understand, the simplest thing to do, was ignore the problem or blame Noble himself. After all, if one is faced with a situation that cannot be resolved within a few day, then we can just assign it to chastening for sin. He must have be hiding a sinful behavior that God is trying to root out of his life. Nobel suffered more and more from this awful disease and not unlike Job of old, he was blamed.
His family saw him struggle; his family saw him work, his family saw him pray and they saw him cry. Some days were so bad that Noble despaired even of life itself.
He prayed from a list because his memory was bad. He carried one verse at a time in his pocket because his concentration was bad. He faithfully followed God with all of his broken heart. He questioned himself and his motives; he examined his spirituality and his life; he doubted the truths that he had so adamantly defended-all because of his broken brain but only a few inches away beat his sweet and noble heart.
Noble did ministry wherever he went. He pastored a couple of small churches where the congregants were heard to say things like, “How did we ever get him?” “He is an amazing pastor/teacher!” And “This place should be packed to the walls!” More than one man said they sensed God’s deep and purposeful calling on his life. Nobel knew he was weak. Noble’s family knew he had a vulnerable side that made him always more dependent on God. Others didn’t know. What they saw was a good and godly man, but how exactly that came to be, they didn’t have the slightest idea.
To top off the sadness of this illness, Noble seemed to be unqualified for ministry, by everyone but God, his Father and his Maker. For God is the One who made his gifted mind, called him to ministry and handed him this illness, no doubt, always remembering his Noble name. Noble wasn’t disqualified, noble was being trained.
The loss Noble felt was very, very sad. He desired the care and maintenance of a flock; he wanted to work in pastoral ministry. He had been faithful. He had survived a Job-like trial and yet where was the other half of the story? What does a pastor do when churches think he is disqualified and weak?
Well, he did what one would expect from such a man. He took his theology and his odd, misunderstood illness and decided to be a spokesperson for others with the same disease. He put his bible training and his theology to work. He developed a helping and mercy ministry so others wouldn’t have to wander through dark days of disease alone like he did. He continued to trust in the Sovereignty of God, the biblical teaching that all things are under God’s rule and control and that nothing happens without His direction or permission
He also watched for God’s providence, the foreseeing care and guidance of God. Noble used what he knew, he expanded his world into areas he didn’t know and he turned his heart toward the hurting,
The bible says: A noble man makes noble plans and by noble deeds he stands. Isaiah 32:7
This is what Noble did. It is also how he got his name. His ministry is still thriving; not to the rich, the famous, the society hounds, but to the hurting, the sick and the depressed. He is after all, a good and noble man and God knew He could trust him.
Get well soon, honey. The others are waiting. I love you!