This week, I was praying for a pastor in California who lost his battle against depression & anxiety by taking his own life.
This hit me hard, as I have been directly affected by mental illness and suicide over the years. Two things struck me which i felt lead to share with you today.
1. Mental illness is an actual condition, revealing itself through anxiety, depression, extreme worry, mood disorders, OCD – just to mention the most common ones. It is not always something you can retrain your brain to remove from your life, like a bad habit. You may need medication, counseling; add exercise and healthier eating into your life to help you cope and manage it.
2. Not all mental illness is caused by the enemy, but can definitely be impacted by him. He will use any weapon against us he can find, and some times, he wins a skirmish in the battle against God’s children. Like he did with the recent passing of the pastor in California, and my sister-in-law who passed several years ago. He can influence us to do things we would never normally consider when we do not reach out and get help to deal with these thoughts and impulses.
But friend, I want to encourage you. God IS in the battle with you, and is fighting for you behind the scenes as well. None of us is ever alone.
If someone you love is struggling with mental illness, let them know that you love them as they are. You are on their side and in their corner to help support them. Pray for them, each and every time they come to your mind,. If you feel prompted, call them or drive over to say hi face to face.
We never fully know what is going on in the minds of those we love, but God does. At times, the only comfort we can draw on is knowing our loved ones are no longer in the duress and pain which caused them to do what they did to end it. If they knew God, we can also rest in knowing we will be reunited in heaven with them one day. Dig deeply into His Word, such as Psalm 46:1-3.
God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need Him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in sea storm and earthquake. Before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.