let's take break...
There is nothing like seeing the places where historical heroes of our faith lived, where various folk wrought the miraculous, prophesied, struggled and even warred. One such place was Ein Gedi, located west of the Dead Sea near Masada and the Qumran Caves. The Bible records that 3000 years ago David hid from King Saul at this place. When David surprised the king in the cave, and chose to spare his life after finding him unarmed, Saul said David would succeed him on the throne.1
May I say it is just awe inspiring to see the waterfall and caves where this event occurred—where the first and second kings of Israel intersected?! See, so many folks think that going to Israel is all about walking in Jesus’ footsteps … and that is wonderful, but it is oh, so much more! Israel is the land of much of the Old Testament as well, and therefore gives sight to scriptures studied, old and new. Planning, hoping to go back in the Fall of 2021.
But just a bit before this scene in the cave, Samuel records this about David:
“he pretended to be insane, scratching on
doors and drooling down his beard.”2
Wait--did you read that carefully? The ‘man after God’s own heart’3 acted like he was crazy. Huh? Who would do such a thing? Fact is, David feigned insanity to save himself while on the run from Saul. And truth be told, David’s life was something else--he experienced just about everything a man possibly could over his lifetime. But most of us wouldn’t associate insanity with the beloved shepherd, giant slayer, psalmist and king.
Here’s the thing—David’s behavior of a man not in possession of his mental faculties was a ruse, a way to get himself out of a threatening situation and ... it worked.
Segue ~ to you and me, today in the here and now - while it is near the start of a new year, filled with opportunity for new adventures and personal growth, many of us are struggling mightily just to live each day. Whether it is we or someone we dearly love, struggling with varying degrees of mental illness—
anxiety, depression, severe ADD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia—
all of it can make life daunting and worrisome...
that is to say, not at all manageable.
Over the years of writing thousands of Morning Briefings, usually teaching through a scripture or passage, I have not addressed the subject of mental illness too much, but since I see it all around me right now--especially with Covid--I thought this might perhaps be just the time to mention it.
‘See it could be your child’s inability to function in a so-called conventional classroom or it could be your husband’s inability to deal with his ‘racing, never slows down mind’ or your mother’s obsessive qualities that keep her from living life to the full or your own propensity to fall into depression or be overcome by anxiety – it falls within the spectrum of what is commonly called mental illness.
‘The cause of such a thing called mental illness? Could be DNA, could be something else, could even be the result of traumatic brain injuries. How to move into the new year?
One day at a time.
One step at a time.
Garnering support through believing loved ones.
And then turning to the inspiration of Scripture for strength, wisdom and truth anchors us as no other thing. Paul’s words resonate so strongly with me; from the New Living Translation: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.3
You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!4
From our Lord:
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
‘Struggling? You have a God who loves you and is bigger than your circumstances . . . a God who is for you,
a God who is with you.
Go confidently into the month of March~
this song drives it home for me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc-WPCQs6RI
Hallelujah Even Here, Lydia Laird