I can do a seminar on guitar tuning and tuners, the thingees that help you get those strings sounding good with one another -but if you don’t apply the info. I can do nothing for you in the area of harmony with a stringed guitar. Do you WANT help? It all starts there.
“His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”
“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” -Mother Teresa
This post comes as the result of several recent close encounters with very broken, hurting people. They are friends, sometimes acquaintances whom I either know well or who’ve written me or come up to chat at shows -and who all hurt greatly.
Some have lost a spouse to illness or accident. Some lost one or more children. Divorce, family fights, church splits, job loss, on it goes. They ask me for advice, practical and spiritual help.
Here is yet another overview of my thoughts on these matters.
I’m certainly no professional, but I am continuously contacted by people who via my lyrics, writing or performance ask questions that deal with their personal struggles.
I indeed profess… Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, make no mistake about that. And yet… I am not “paid for my expertise in the medical field” and do not claim such wisdom.
In terms of practical and spiritual advice, I can offer the following in fairly short form:
Living with yourself (sans other people) for many, is a worse trial than living with others regardless of the pain factors in human relationships. Of course, your mileage may vary…
Suicide is the farthest-out and most tragic of all responses to the pains of living in this world, alone or with others. I do not think it solves anything in that I am convinced as The Bible clearly states “It is appointed to humans to die once and then the judgment”. As C. S. Lewis and others have said, we all live for eternity. With whom and where is the issue. There are suicide hotlines, USE them Please!!!
Clarifying- mental illness EXISTS and spiritual answers to bodily functions (including brain/chemical issues) are not 100 percent The Answer for all in every single case. I truly believe in and have seen miracles (and I am one on several levels) yet and stiIl… I won’t qualify my position but to say there is plenty of factual, historical and common-sense evidence that Dr. Luke accompanied Paul for good reason.
Focus -which for many is a super-major task… on the Person of God (Father, Son, Spirit as revealed in The Bible) via prayer, study of His Word, relationship with solid (imperfect…) people who also love and follow Jesus in faith -in Voluntary Accountable Relationships- by gathering together, in both individual and shared prayer, socializing, worship and outreach -all these are HUGE, HUGE, MASSIVE in matters of healing, health, spiritual and indeed emotional and physical growth and maturity.
All this of course depends greatly on your (and my) willingness to show up, to commit and act regardless of our feelings or personal desires in the moment, day or even year.
This does not mean lock-step, toss away your mind, do whatever someone (including me) may tell you. Yet- without solid, growing-in-depth relationships with God and His people REGULARLY, you will find yourself often in a struggle that could have been avoided entirely if not at least graciously resolved. Alone, you often sink. Water-walking means faith and relationship in Him and indeed, those “other messed-up, imperfect people”.
I’m not going to load this post up with scriptures because if you are serious you won’t be lazy, you’ll find them via online Bible study helps, etc., or in your phone app. I have no less than six English versions of The Bible and a Strong’s Hebrew-Greek version in my Android phone… all free. No computer? Libraries offer internet access, and of course there are bibles with what’s called a “concordance” where you can find the verses that plainly state most all of what I’m saying here.
DO YOU WANT HELP?
Jesus Himself asked this question in the Gospels. If you do not, you’re sunk regardless of the issue. Can you believe there IS help? Will you risk faith? “God has given everyone the measure of faith”, Hmmm.
Finally, the two-sided (at least!) reality that I think often gets overlooked re. these considerations:
Either your health or that of a spouse, child or close loved-one or friend can decline to the extent they no longer can hold a job, or due to other legal issues, get medical help, cannot get out to join with other believers in a local church, etc., etc., and their health problems worsen or other issues pile high.
If you are in such a state I fully empathize and do not condemn you- though of course in a loving world, others would offer you practical help, neighbors, friends, church folk, local/federal government, and etc.. Or not.
If that last paragraph gets up someone’s nose on the political divide, deal with it. You can play political shell games until your neighbor drops, I cannot.
Now, this does not mean all of us are responsible to carry -every- burden of all our sick, or self-destructive neighbors -but “love your neighbor as yourself” seems rather clear, no??!
Meanwhile, in my above scenario, a person (happens all the time) writes, phones, talks directly to me as I travel, etc., and they ask for my input. What you’re reading is what I have said and tried to truly live out locally for years.
If I or we (the JPUSA Chicago fellowship I am part of) cannot directly help- and often we do and can, but if not- we network with a load of people and organizations who do and perhaps can. To simply say “Sorry, you’re on your own” doesn’t cut it. It does not answer the real need- spiritually OR practically.
Now if someone is not willing or interested in following through, what can you or I or any group do? Pray. Encourage. Keep walking in love toward them best as you know how!
Being “alongside” someone costs. It often costs a lot, can cost your very life. There ARE times to break ties, to separate, to leave or send someone packing, there really are.
It is very difficult to live in a broken, fallen, imperfect world. It’s hard enough living within myself with my own hurts, needs, desires and pains, and when joined with others closely it can be super difficult. Believe me when I say “Been there, done that”!
At the same time I find The Comforter (God the Holy Spirit) daily. He shows up in a LOT of ways. I have chosen to find (God brought, I searched, two sides of the thing) loving, godly and no-nonsense Christ-followers who I have built and maintained life-long relationships with, starting with my wife and pastors and closest friends.
I would not be alive much less standing and doing what I do in serving people without them along with our flawed but regular application of all I have written in this post!
I do not (at this stage) suffer with great life-altering illness nor am I desperate for clean water, food, clothing, housing as so many on this planet are. I have been mega-blessed and I know it and thank GOD for His grace in my life in all these things!
At the same time, I meet soooo many people who do not experience the same immediate graces I do.
In jails, prisons, concerts, indeed local fellowships world-wide I meet people who suffer and cannot seem to find their way in “the woods”. For them I do what I can, so please consider the points I’ve raised in this blog.
Lastly- like a looped song I repeat yet again: eyes UP and OUT, rather than self-focused is still the very best therapy I have personally found to help me live in daily service and sanity. When I overly focus on the mirror I can get depressed too!!
I’ve mentioned before there is indeed a chemical, medical “clinical depression” that prayer alone will not always “fix”. Seek experienced, professional help and not self-medication -if there is regular, “I cannot cope with this!” going on in your life, please!
“I have finally found the way to live, like I never knew before… In the presence of the Lord”. Indeed, daily, right here on earth.
Bottom line is that without Him I’d be toast.
God give you grace to walk one day at a time.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn