There Are No Coincidences, Part II
Today I reflect on how a person with mental health issues can find it nearly impossible to accept that God loves them.
One of the most heinous aspects of having bad mental health is that you can end up with a deep, ingrained sense of utter worthlessness and failure.
You come to a point in your life where you believe, above all else, that you are completely of no use any more and that you are a burden on everyone around you; that you hinder others in getting on with their lives.
You long for death, but you don’t have the strength or the courage ( if that’s what it is ) to take that step to end your life. Consequently you live your life in a sort of purgatory you never really hate your life and you never enjoy living.
You feel a deep loneliness, or perhaps I mean aloneness; you cut yourself off from everyone and everything.
You surround yourself with ‘things’ to give you comfort while feeling guilty about spending the money on them.
Your mind condemns you: worse even if you are a christian. Bible verses bring no comfort. They turn on you with verdicts of condemnation: GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY! “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?”* Why? WHY? WHY? GUILTYYYYYY!!!
Very soon your mind is enveloped in turmoil and before very long you begin to cry. Through bitter tears you ask: “God, why do you not love me?” or “what is wrong with me that you despise me so much?” “Why do you hate me?” “Why won’t you help me?” “Why have you abandoned me?”
And then, in some way, you realise that it has been a few days since you picked up your Bible and devotional. You’ve got out of the habit of prayer and reading ( yet again!! ) You really are now desperately grasping at straws.
Slowly you pick yourself up, lie on your bed. You open your daily devotional and read the day’s theme:
Always Loved, Always Valued
You read it again.
Always Loved, Always Valued
You think to yourself: “no way… it couldn’t be, could it?”
And by the end of reading the devotional and Bible verses, you lie there and reflect that “there are no coincidences.” The very thing that had been uppermost in your mind only a few minutes earlier has now been addressed by God Himself.
It’s as if the Lord has said gently; “come child, stop. Stop. Read these words of Mine and see if I don’t care; see if they don’t bring you comfort and reassurance; see if they don’t convince you that I, your Heavenly Father, do indeed love you very, very much.”
And not only do you feel better but your mind is once again at peace. And though far from perfect, your faith has brought you through.
And you feel at peace.
Yes, my Heavenly Father loves me. How could I ever have forgotten that?
I love you, Lord. Thank you.
I now reprint below, the devotional and bible verses that I read this morning and that brought me such comfort and reassurance.
I hope that they bring the same measure of comfort to you.
Our Daily Bread
From Romans 8:31-39:
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And from the devotional, Our Daily Bread, January 28, 2017:
Always Loved, Always Valued
by Randy Kilgore
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:35
We serve a God who loves us more than our work.
Oh, it’s true that God wants us to work to feed our families and to responsibly take care of the world He created. And He expects us to serve the weak, hungry, naked, thirsty, and broken people around us even as we remain alert to those who have not yet responded to the Holy Spirit’s tug on their lives.
And yet we serve a God who loves us more than our work.
We must never forget this because there may come a time when our ability to “do for God” is torn from us by health or failure or unforeseen catastrophe. It is in those hours that God wants us to remember that He loves us not for what we do for Him but because of who we are: His children! Once we call on the name of Christ for salvation, nothing – “trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword” – will ever again separate us “from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” ( Romans 8:35,39 ).
When all we can do or all we have is taken from us, then all He wants us to do is rest in our identity in Him.
Father, help us never lose sight of the unconditional love You have for us, and let us hold on to that hope when our labor – and the fruit of our labor – are gone.
The reason we exist is to be in fellowship with God.
And from Our Daily Bread Insight:
Are you as convinced as Paul was that nothing can separate you from the love of God? Paul was raised with a belief that his compliance with Mosaic law gave him acceptance with God. Yet all of that changed when he discovered that the Jesus he hated was the God who loved him. Through a direct encounter with the resurrected Christ, he learned that the love of God is not earned, but accepted as a gift of grace and mercy ( Rom. 4:4–5 ). It comes to us not because of what we have done for Him or others but because of what God in His mercy has done for us.
* In my agitated state of mind, I left out the other, positive, half of Isaiah 55:2: “Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”