Monday, March 6, 2017

You can be sick and be in the will of God!


 Copyright March 2017, All rights reserved

 
 













I have been sick a number of times in my life.  I had kidney stones in my early twenties.  I became very sick at age twenty nine with what was a clinical depression which affected my whole body. I could not sleep, nor eat and I had no sex drive.  My mood was very depressed. My family had to go on Food Stamps and Medicaid and we had had to move into the basement of our relatives. Even now I am on medication which has arrested the illness but not cured it.  Mental illness for me has meant many episodes of depression. 


You need to exorcise the demon!
I remember what happened many years ago, when I was working for an aluminum company. I had a cold and one of my co-workers, who was a Christian encouraged me to, "rebuke the demon" that was causing my cold. What a trite non-biblical approach to sickness! If I believed in a health, wealth and prosperity gospel, I would have given up long ago. Paul the apostle said about one of his powerful missionaries, "Trophimus I left sick at Milteus" ( 2 Timothy 4:20). In fact, Paul himself had a terrible disease, which he called, a "thorn in the flesh." He asked God three times to take it from him.  But the Lord's answer was to him was that He would not take it away. W would he not? According to Paul, it was "because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-to keep me from exalting myself! 
(2 Corinthians 12:7)."

Image result for electroconvulsive therapy 

Depression first hit me in 1985 when I was 29. You can read about our struggle in Broken Minds, Hope for healing when you feel like you're losing it. Look for it at the end of this blog. 

In my thirties, I was hospitalized for electro-convulsive therapy. It brought me out of my deep depression. I was somewhat maintained on antidepressant medications, with episodes of depression coming regularly.

In my forties I again was hospitalized for ECT (Electro shock therapy); It is very effective and is one of the fastest therapies for the lifting of depression. Some people think the only organs you can shock are from the head down. Again there is much ignorance around when it comes to treating the common cold of mental illness, depression.
Image result for lithium toxicity
In 1998, my doctor diagnosed me with bipolar II disorder and he prescribed me Lithium. It worked and brought me up and out of my depressive episode again. But after a few years, in 2001, I became desperately ill with nausea, was in and out of the hospital for weeks and finally admitted; then it took the health care professionals almost a month to diagnose me and get me off the Lithium that was killing me. My psychiatrist and primary doctor did not know that Lithium could be stored in the fats. The blood levels were fine but I became a victim of Lithium Toxicity. I remember our daughter Lindsay, visiting me in the hospital.  She came everyday and sat with Robyn and me, even though she was due to have a child any time.  Robyn told me that Lindsay worried that I would die and never be able to play with her little girl who was due in October. This hospitalization was in August of 2001 and by September 11, I had graduated from a walker to a cane and was getting the poison slowly out of my body. With this toxicity came days and weeks of being unable to walk, I could not hold any food down, Robyn had to help me to the shower. I had muscle twitches, slurred speech and I started crawling to the bathroom. If she even touched me, it felt like a hot, painful shock



On 9-11-01, we lost our Lindsay and her precious Emily Hope. They were hit head-on and killed instantly while Lindsay was driving home from a prayer meeting for our nation after the terrorist attacks. The other driver had open syringes in the vehicle and had been shooting up heroin as he drove his friend's borrowed car, as well as using cocaine and marijuana.  The grief was more horrendous than anyone can imagine who hasn't experienced burying a child. We persevered, only by God's grace, and continued to serve Him. Romans12:12,says, Christians are to: "rejoice in hopepersevere in tribulation and  be devoted to prayer."  We obeyed the biblical command. If Christians did not suffer, everyone would choose to be a Christian!



Many Trials
Throughout our marriage, my wife Robyn, and I have had our share of trials.  In 1992, we sold our home in West Palm Beach and moved to assume a pastorate in Kansas. We packed up our four children and our Cocker Spaniel and drove for four days to get there. After eighteen months of serving and seeing the church double in size, we were asked to leave. Seems the deacons didn't like us drawing attention to the sin that was running all through the families in the church; (unfortunately, mostly the adult children of the deacons). We couldn't believe after uprooting our family and spending a large part of our profit from selling our home, that they were asking us to leave. We looked out the church window at the little town and wondered what we were supposed to do. After counseling with our former pastors in Michigan, they felt we needed time to heal and that our kids needed to see Christianity at its best instead of at its worst. So, we moved to Grand Rapids in 1994. When we left that church, I grieved the loss of pastoral ministry for years.


Job's friends
Some Christians told me that God was not pleased with me and this was why  my life was a pile of troubles. Of course that is not true. I have read the book of Job many times and realized that good people can suffer and often there is a lack of compassion for those who do. Job answered and said, "I have heard many such things; sorry comforters are you all (Job 16:1,2)."
  
Walking by faith not by sight
The Bible tells us that  we walk by faith not by sight.  Robyn and I, by the grace of God, have been plodders.  We have found grace in the center of our afflictions.  We know for sure that we are children of God.  A couple of years ago, I had  a close friend who told  me that he had cancer but he wanted to do many more things for the Lord before he "left this planet."  But God had another plan. He went to be with the Lord last year.  And near the end, he was not recognizable. No one worthy of being called a friend would assault him with platitudes about how God was going to heal him. He was only sixty one years old.

Don't scold the small-souled!
If you know someone who is sick or having deep trials, don't try to rebuke them for it.
It only makes them feel worse.  The health, wealth, prosperity gospel is not biblical and mocks believers who are sick.   But there will come a day when there will be no sickness or pain.When you are sick remember some day you will be leaving this world to go to heaven .  Hebrews 6:10 says, For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.




 Robyn and I have written a book called, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're  Losing It. It is the story of our journey with my mental illness, plus the biblical evidence and my professional expertise on dealing with these issues.
If you would like to learn more about trials and difficulties that Robyn and I have experienced, please read about our book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0825421187/?tag=mh0b-20&hvadid=1464974030&ref=pd_sl_6ooxcpjb36_e



Steve is a biblical, clinical, counselor.  Please go to our web site for more information.
You can also call us at the phone number on that page. http://www.heartfeltmin.org/#!contact/cito