Summary: The Bible offers great advice and instruction on how to deal with many of life’s everyday challenges including being down and out.
Living Beyond the “Down and Out”
[ILLUS: Almost everyone knows I love the outdoors. As we were flying in over Florida, the scenery was every bit as beautiful as people say it is and the pictures indicate. Every year thousands of birds migrate south for the winter. I’m not referring to Canadian geese rather I am referring to Canadians – Snow Birds. They make their annual pilgrimage from Jan-April each year.
They go south for several reasons…
To get away from the cold temperatures and mountains of snow.
They have developed communities of friendships.
For three months of the year, the enjoy rest and relaxation where the sun is always shining and scenery is breathtaking.
As we were traveling and sightseeing in the vocational paradise of Florida, I couldn’t help but notice hospitals and medical clinics on just about every major street.
Thought: You won’t find this in any of their marketing brochures: People in Florida deal with medical problems the same as we do. Yes – that may not have back trouble from shovelling snow but they may have someone die from sun exposure.
I was quickly reminded that even in a place where it seems to be perfect – it is not perfect because people in Florida have to live life just like people in Newfoundland and the same as people in China. Even though the circumstances and situations may vary, everyone is still required to live life. LIFE is not a respecter of persons or places...
Financial stress, Employment issues,
Family situations, Health concerns,
Mental, physical, emotional and spiritual
I can’t help but think that we have people in China, Florida, Newfoundland, St. John’s and probably members of Pathway who are quietly struggling along, attempting to find inner healing and wholeness without the whole world finding out about it.
I want to take the next few weeks to deal with some of the practical everyday issues that each of us face in life. Let me say up front: I am not a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist. However as one who studies the Bible, I am fully aware that the Bible offers great advice and instruction on how to deal with many of life’s everyday challenges. I hope that this sermon series will help individuals to understand and apply powerful principles of scripture that will in turn enable and empower each person to live beyond their circumstance.
The first issue I would like to address is…
1. Being Down and Out.
I am referring to being mentally and emotionally down and out. Unfortunately, there is still some stigma attached to mental and emotional issues. Yet I believe we all can acknowledge that they are as real if not more than the arthritis that I deal with. Thankfully that stigma is slowly disappearing. At Pathway, we don’t assign stigma to those who suffer mental and emotional issues rather we desire to uplift, encourage and support those individuals.
Let’s look to the Bible for some guidance in this matter.
There is a notion or myth out there that says “If you are a believer or have a relationship with God – you are not supposed to experience being mentally and/or emotionally down and out.” Utter nonsense! It is a myth that is not supported by the Bible!
[ILLUS: It was actually said from one pulpit that if you suffer with mental or emotional issues then you are demon-possessed. Obviously that person is extremely ignorant of what the Bible says about this topic.]
In fact, there are many examples of godly men from the Bible like Job, Jonah, Elijah and Moses (wanted to die because of pressure) had experienced intense moments of hopelessness and despair.
Let me give you one more example. The best example…
When Jesus Himself, was in the garden of Gethsemane, He was “in great despair.” He suffered from extreme emotional and mental turmoil because He knew what was about to happen. WHY? Because He was human and about to be crucified on a cross.
“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane…he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (NIV)
“…He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. He told them, “I feel bad enough right now to die.” (Message)
INTENSE MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL SUFFERING!!!
[ILLUS: Charles Spurgeon is considered by many to be the greatest preacher. He was known to plunge into severe depression. Sometimes he would be out of the pulpit for two to three months at a time.]
The list can go on and on. The point is made. People who suffer from mental and emotional issues are not abnormal. Mental and emotional issues are no respecter of persons, whether you’re young and old, male and female, rich or poor, well-known or unknown, believer or unbeliever.