Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Search

I am finding it hard to strike a balance between the pastoral and the prophetic. Between what is going on in here and what is going on out here. Maybe it will always be this way. Or maybe 'pastor' and 'prophet' refuse to be divided so easily.

I do wish to speak to the passing of Robin Williams and those issues of mental health that have moved to a more public platform as of late.

I start by professing that I am no expert in this field, not even a little bit. These words that follow are borne from humility and love, and I hope they are received as such. My words do not serve as an answer to life's unfathomable mysteries. My sincere wish is only that my words might reveal a greater Word of hope to someone who needs it, as they do for me during life's dark seasons. 

I know and love many people who live with depression and other mental health diagnoses. And some others still, who I knew and loved, whose lives were cut tragically short because of a very real, permeable mental illness. 

For many, it is not as simple as taking a pill.

For many, the darkness is too overwhelming.

It is not a question of their reaching out. If they were to reach out, they could not even see their own hand extending out into the pitch black that swarms them. 

Calling out to God or to a loved one seems futile.

The burden to reach out, to call out cannot be placed on them. They are so weighted down already.

When hope is gone, people start believing that life would really be better without them in it.

And so it is in the midst of the abyss, when despair seeks to swallow us up, where a word of hope is spoken. 

We do not have to reach out to God. God is seeking us. 

We do not have to search for God. God is searching for us. 

The onus is not on us to find God, for God finds us. 

I know I am guilty for using the phrase, 'my search for God,' or 'my spiritual search' in describing my faith journey. 

But truly, it is God who is on a quest for us. It is God who seeks out the one lost sheep while the 99 are safe at home. It is God who sweeps and turns the house upside down looking for us, the precious lost coin. 

Many times I have searched for God and come up wanting. I felt my efforts were in vain. And perhaps they were.

It was never about me finding God, but allowing myself to be found by God.

Again, this is not meant to be a curative sermon for those living with mental health diagnoses. 

It is simply a reminder to us all that God loves and looks for us. That we don't have to move mountains to find God. 

God is already here. Deep down inside of us. God may get covered up and hidden by other things in our lives. And some of these things--a mental health diagnosis being only one example--we have little or no control over.

We may have a hard time believing our self-worth. We may have a hard time believing that God cares or that God is looking for us at all. We may find the darkness so consuming that we forget what Light looks, feels like. 

This post is simply a word to anyone who has ever been affected by illness, by darkness, by despair. I think that just about covers everyone.

We can't solve it. We can't fix it. But we can show up. We can reach out, be present--even in the felt absence. We can remind all those we love just how valuable and precious they are to us.

It was never about fixing something or someone anyway.

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