To use a biblical phrase; “These things also I have observed….”
Those Christians I have met or known in any depth at all, who struggle with mental illness have been the quickest to respond to the coming down of the Holy Spirit, more so than any other people I know in the Charismatic world.
In two or three different settings I have found myself ministering in they have almost been like some sort of spiritual lightning detectors. When they raise thier hands, laugh or cry, I tune in more carefully and find they are right…God is there, He has come with a strong presence. Their hearts of worship, their delight in praising their Father in heaven has always challenged me. I pray for their blessing and healing, but I hope if healing comes they do not lose the treasure they carry.
Let’s not dumb down the God content in our ministry to those challenged intellectually or by mental illness. That is to show an ignorance of the difference between spirit and mind. We have much to learn from these precious people about meeting and knowing God and encountering Him in power.
Amen, I met with Jesus on a garden bench in the grounds of a Psychiatric Clinic where I spent six months. He changed my life that day. I thought I was pretty well educated but I learnt to know Him when all my intellect had failed me. That was 33 years ago and I still love to meet with Him daily in a quiet spot, on a bench in the garden, even if only in my mind.
Thank you so so much for sharing that Judith.
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Incredible to us today, back in early Nov 1972, just turned 19, I had never heard of mental illnesses except when references to ‘astlums’ or ‘loony bins’ were made in the media etc.
But at that point in my life, I found myself in an acute admissions ward of a psychiatric hospital. I knew of no reason for depression to have a grip on me. It would be another fourteen years before the cause would be shown me, and only after seeking the Lord and praying the last verses of Paalm 139.
Back to Nov-Dec 1972: at one point I was desperate to know how I could get back to normal life, crying out in my heart to God.
I was not a Christian but believed God existed. He sent a wave of such love over me, assuring me of His presence.
After that, I was able to sit by the beds of newly admitted, desperate, patients, speaking of God’s amazing love. They were very encouraged by it, praise God.
There was one who did not appear helped; she believed she was Jesus Christ. I can’t forget how mental illness ravages some.
But God is always near the suffering, waiting for that one ‘glance of your eyes’ which might be a passing thought towards Him, yet it delights Him and empowers us. (Solomon 4:9)
Even when dark powers or cruel events in life come, that love and light for our souls cannot be overcome. (John 1:5)
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One of the most profound things I ever heard was from a Baptist minister, Jim Graham, who said that the kingdom of God is not for the well meaning but the desperate. That is my experience and I believe the many who met Jesus except the pharisees who didn’t seem in the least desperate.
Thanks for the blog once again!
In certain situations, on certain days at church I have been more moved by what is generally termed as the “children’s talks” prior to them going out to Sunday school classes than by what, at times, can be an overly intellectual “adults” sermon! In the children’s talk I can sense the Holy Spirit at work when I can’t in the adult sermon!