December 2015

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Have you ever given thought to how few people in this world don’t suffer hardships? Almost everyone does at one time or another. Many live with ongoing illness, pain, and hard times. How we need to pray for them!

Because of my mental health problems I’ve often felt I’m worse off than most. What could be worse than the anguish of depression, anxiety and emotional pain that become so intolerable at times that I would rather die? What could be worse than the feeling of shame I sometimes live with?

Is there anything more awful? Is there?      …Maybe there is.

Before I started writing this, I spent quite a bit of time talking with God about it and he helped me see some things I hadn’t recognized before. God had me look at some of my friends and the troubles they deal with. They don’t have mental health issues but they, along with many in the world, have other severe problems they struggle with. Many fight battles as difficult as those I fight, only of a different kind. Many suffer as greatly, only in a different way.

Amongst the many hardships people deal with are chronic pain—ever present and extremely hard to live with. Others have a variety of physical health issues that sap their energy and make a normal life impossible. Many are disabled—blind, deaf, bound to a wheelchair. Others are so poor that they don’t have enough food to calm their hunger.

I believe that many start losing hope like I do at times. It becomes difficult to truly feel God’s love. All of us have great need for the support of friends, through whose love God shows us He cares—through whom God becomes real to us.

How we all need each other! How we need to pray for each other and support each other with love!

Life is hard for most of us. Some have it good in one way, but bad in other ways. Some have a solid faith and a spouse who shares that faith, but not enough money to live comfortably. Others might have all the worldly riches they could want, but not the support of a believing husband.

Who’s worse off?

I don’t know.

I just know that, in spite of our own struggles, we need to hold up our friends in prayer and do all we can to support them. As individuals who have suffered and know what it is to receive love, we are called to love others in return. When we receive compassion from God, is it not good then to share that compassion with others?

It is my prayer that you who are reading this are doing well today. May God bless you and keep you, no matter what you might be going through. May his love fill your heart abundantly. And, while I know only some of you personally, please know that I care about you and hope that what I write will help you in some way.