This ancient proverb offers wisdom for people who are hurting, saved and unsaved, and for family members and pastors who are called upon to help them.
the challenge is that many of us have family members or close friends living with pain and confusion that seems so much a part of life: addiction Alzheimer's autism, clinical depression, marital abuse, life-threatening issues, eating disorders, church hurt are wreaking havoc in our homes, places of business and in our houses of worship. We can only imagine how many others are struggling with post-traumatic stress, gender confusion, panic attacks, schizophrenia, or obsessive-compulsive disorders.
these are only a few of the sorrows, infirmities, demonic stronholds that need the wisdom of Solomon and the Spirit of the One who came to rescue and set the captives free. (John 3:17; 12:47).
Along with the additional pain of carrying these burdens, is the great amount of criticism that is heaped on individuals that are already on the edge. It is important for us to think about how we respond to those who are struggling with issues of emotional and mental health. If we are not careful, we can unintentionally add to their pain by suggesting that their struggle reflects a lack of faith, prayer, or time in the Word of God. How many of us understand the intimate connection between body and soul when it comes to trauma and memories that sear the soul like a hot iron. How many of us have the insight to deal with those who have been devastated by sexual abuse, the front lines of war, or a history of domestic violence?
I have been in ministry for over 15 years now, but as a result of losing two loved ones back to back, I was a wreck! I was in a very dark place and depression came in and could have robbed me of the eternal joy I have in Christ. Grief took over and nearly knocked me out for the count. Did I know the power of God to heal, save and deliver? Yes, I did. Nevertheless, the hole in my heart was real! It could not be fixed totally by faith, repeated journeys to the altar, prayer, love and compassion from family and friends and meeting with my pastor.
Many leaders suffer and feel the pressure of faith as a driving force to dull the pain and stop the hemorrhaging, the bleeding in our heart, body and soul. The pressure to suck it up, get over it, the religious people who carelessly say things like: "Well, now he or she is with the Lord, there is another angel up there looking down upon you." Well, the devil is a liar! The truth is, I AM MAD AS HELL, AND RIGHT NOW THE WORD, PRAYER, SCRIPTURE, AND NOTHING ELSE CAN FIX ME RIGHT NOW!!!
Many realize their limitations, but feel compelled to act as if the Bible, prayer, and fellowship are the only God honoring ways to deal with emotional and mental problems. The tension between what we think of as biblical solutions and secular resources are understandable. As followers of Christ, we don't want to make the mistake of treating a spiritual condition as a physical or mental illness. But neither should we treat a physical or mental illness as a spiritual condition.
It is true, our dependency needs to be on God alone. But within what boundaries does the God of the Bible provide for His people? Haven't many of us thanked God for the help of health professionals and social workers who have walked with us through medical problems, mental illness, addictions and trauma or war or poverty?
If our intent is to find help that reflects the wisdom of God, we lose nothing if we ask a doctor to look for factors that might be clouding our minds. Faith does not suffer if we ask professional specialist to help us explore our thoughts, emotions, and choices.
No one should have to stand alone under the weight of spiritual problems complicated by the possibility of real mental emotional, and physical illness. Nor can we safely assume that our desire to trust God needs to be kept separate from the combined counsel of pastoral and health professionals. And I admit, I had to seek the counsel of a Christian counselor! It took a while for me to do it, but I finally decided that God puts individuals in our lives to help heal us holistically, spiritually, physically through medication, and other procedures. We cannot over spiritualize everything. When Jesus healed, he did not just lay hands or speak the word to bring about healing. His instructions included some pretty strange and unusual directions and applications. Was faith required to accomplish or bring about deliverance and healing? Indeed it was and still is!
I am a person who believes completely in the power of prayer, I have a g rowing faith, and I absolutely believe in the power of God to move supernaturally and in one full swoop, He can heal any manner of sickness and disease. But I also know God is a practical God. Some of us are sick and have acquired sicknesses because we abuse our bodies. we won't exercise and eat right. We hold grudges, and won't forgive those who wrong us. that in and of itself can cause ulcers and stomach problems.
Let us keep the proper perspective people. Counselors, doctors, and support groups can never replace our accountability to God. Nor can medical or professional counseling ever replace the need for pastoral and congregational care. We would be better off dyinf early, diseasedin the body and troubled in soul, than to live longm peaceful and healthy lives without a daily awareness of our reliance on Christ.
Christ is the Lord of all truth. We should remember that God provides through many men and women, whether they know Him or not. Yes, there is a danger that any doctor, counselor, or spiritual leader might unintentionally mislead us. That is why we need to pay special attention to the wisdom of Solomon. Bedause bad advice can come from trusted sources, we need to weigh multiple perspectives to sort through difficult problems.
Where there is no counsel, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors, there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14).