I see Christians sharing nothing but bad news on Facebook. The ugly, the tragic, the sad and the infuriating. I challenge you today to embrace that which breeds joy in your heart.
As I was a young man in my 20s, I had a series of visions regarding what I was called to do. I thought everything would be revealed to me within a year or two. HA! Boy was I wrong. When I was a kid, my parents used to make me go to the little Pentecostal church in Waverly, Missouri, where we used to sing, “Teach me, Lord, to wait.” But, as Inigo from “The Princess Bride,” says, “I hate waiting.”
If you’re looking for the ugly, vile and putrid in life, it’s there. But if you CHOOSE to look for it, I think you’ll find the glory in this world far outweighs the gloom. Like when you’re taking a walk, and suddenly look up and see one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ve ever witnessed.
I've never had an anxiety attack, but one of my best friends struggles with them. Those who suffer from them have told me about the racing pulse, the terrifying thoughts, and the feeling one is going to die. It is for my friend—along with anyone else reading this who shares the same battle—I offer the following thoughts, Bible verses, and prayer.
For those of us who deal with prolonged issues such as pain, anxiety and depression, it’s easy to begin to question your abilities and worth. Once vibrant, bright-eyed and energetic, we slowly become hollow, dull-eyed and exhausted. But God is calling out of darkness, into His marvelous light. Laughter and love, not tears and anger. Joy and hope, not sadness and despair.
You are the One who has given me every good thing in my life. You are the One who has given me not only the hope of salvation, but of Heaven, Lord. It was You who led my ancestors through many challenging days, through death and right into Your arms, Lord. I would like to ask one thing, Lord. I'm tired. I'm so very tired today. I don't know what else to say. I don't know what else to do. I just pray You give me strength. Give me the courage and tenacity to continue living for You in these difficult times. Allow me the spiritual brawn to lead my family to Your gates, Jesus.
"Prayin' for ya, kid." Those are the words with which James would end every phone call. James was a "resident" of a State Hospital where he resided since the 70s, when, in his early 20s, he committed a crime worthy of a life sentence in a hospital for the criminally insane. He never told me what he did to get there, and I never asked. All I can say I grew to love him like a brother, and was proud to call him “friend.”
We live in uncertain times, but Psalm 46 invites the world to witness a future when wars and striving will cease and all the nations know and worship the one True God. It reassures us, “When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless. When mountains crumble and the waters run wild, we are sure and fearless. Even in heavy winds and huge waves, or as mountains shake, we are sure and fearless.”
Some days life cuts you off at the knees, submerging you in darkness, nearly swallowing you whole. I’ve been there, friend. So have many others. But just as the mountains are everlasting, undying and unalterable, so is the Lord. God promises to love and protect us. He cannot be moved. He stands forever. He surrounds His people. Pretty cool, right?
Being an artistic soul, and having gone through so much pain, sorrow, anger and depression, I have a short list of songs which thunder in my spirit. At times a lost child and at other times a blood-drenched soldier, these anthems make up the DNA of my warrior soul.