Healing Power

Running commentary on how Jesus' Healing Power is affecting my life - and helping me to help others.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Helping Others to Heal

I honestly believe I was made to suffer through an emotional disorder so that I may help others in the same situation. I am convinced of that. And I have been able to lend at least an ear to those who have asked. In some cases, I have lent a job. In other cases a ride. But I try to always be there.

I have come to believe, however, that the only effective means of helping others in this situation is face-to-face discussion. Recent events have illustrated this to me.

Bipolar disorder is not pretty. Many think that the emotional highs are great - you feel wonderful when you're manic. Well, that's only half true. In my case, the manic highs were associated with an unquenchable rage that damaged my house and scared the hell out of my family. My father once commented that "you have put a hole in every single house in which we've lived." And we moved a lot, so that's a lot of houses and a lot of holes.

The rage begins tingling as a good feeling. You feel good, so you want to feed the good feeling. Then something tiny happens that gives you the very slightest anger. The good feeling jumps. Now, your body feels better, but it comes through negative energy. Still it feels good, so you feed it. Like a starving man, your rage needs fuel to keep burning. You begin to incite those around you to do or say something that you can interpret as stupid or offensive. They feed the rage. The fire gets bigger and you feel stronger. Soon you're bullet-proof. You can do no wrong. You are a god.

This is where I was as often as three times a week for many, many years. I was around seven when I first noticed it. I'm 41 now and am still not free of it. I was able to throw heavy objects, such as hide-a-bed sofas, across a room. I was able to scream for hours without becoming hoarse. I was able to speak all manner of curses against my family and friends without the slightest remorse. And I believed that there was nothing wrong with me.

It took an encounter with an officer of the law before I sought help. But I did seek help. I had a baby at home and a new marriage. I did not want to go to jail. After 11 months of counseling, I suffered a panic attack. The day was my second wedding anniversary - a day that was actually going quite well. I believe the name of this episode is misleading for I was not panicky. I was terrified. And there was nothing to be terrified of. The overwhelming feeling of terror gripped my very soul and wouldn't let go. From my cell phone, I called my counselor in the middle of the night. She suggested I see a medical doctor - a psychiatrist. This was in October, 2000.

I did begin a regimen of medication at this point. Starting with 2 lithium tablets every day, I was taking 22 pills by the summer of 2003. Many of these pills were to counter-act what the psychiatric medications were doing to my liver, kidneys and heart. I told my doctor, "The medications that gave me the will to live are going to kill me." I had recently become a Christian, so I also began to earnestly pray that God would remove this torment from my life.

My wife and I had begun to discuss the possibility that this emotional disorder was rooted in something more severe than a physical ailment - perhaps it was spiritual in origin. The more I studied God's Word, the more I came to realize that, perhaps she was right.
They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
- Mark 5:1-5, NIV
This man was strong. This man was able to break chains. Is that a physical ailment? Scripture tells us he was "with an evil spirit". I've experienced this. When I threw a Lexmark 4019 laser printer nearly 45 feet, I experienced superhuman strength. When I picked up our 3-seat hide-a-bed sofa and threw it 10 feet, I experienced superhuman strength. But the story in Mark continues:
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!"

Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?"

"My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many."
- Mark 5:6-9, NIV
Many demons were living inside this one man. Many demons, not just one.

Jesus told us about demons, and that they like to stay in one place.
"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."
- Matthew 12:43-45, NIV
There are several short passages of note here. First, Jesus says, "When an evil spirit comes out of a man". How does the spirit leave a man? I do not believe it does so on its own accord. The spirit must be evicted by some manner. Jesus evicted many demons in His short ministry. Are we to believe that all demonic activity has stopped or shall we continue practicing what He preached?

Secondly, the demon seeks rest and does not find it. There is much speculation that demons are commanded to remain in their host until the host dies. When the demon is evicted from the host, it is tormented by his commander - satan - until it returns.

When it does so, and this is the third important point - perhaps the most important point - it "finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order." This phrase seems to indicate that the house needs to be occupied by something. Since the house is spiritual, it can only be inhabited by spirits. And God desires to fill our houses with His Holy Spirit. So, if the house is unoccupied - if there is no spirit in the house, then things really get bad.

The spirit finds some other evil spirits - more wicked than itself, and returns to the house to party. Imagine, if you will, that you have a house rented to a bad tenant. This tenant doesn't pay the bills, doesn't care for the house, puts holes in the walls, lets his dog pee on the floor - a really bad tenant. After several warnings (gotta make it legal, right?) about the rules of the lease, you serve an eviction notice. The tenant, faced with the possibility that the Sheriff will come rough him up, leaves - but takes a key with him.
A while later, the tenant returns and finds the house repaired. The carpet is replaced. The holes in the walls, patched. The moldy kitchen counter, cleaned. The nasty bathroom, sparkling. He says, "I think I'll invite my friends over for one last party." His buddies, hardcore drunks, come over and proceed to tear all the sheetrock off the wall, break the toilet, pee in the fridge, break all the windows and stuff cotton balls down all the drains. The house is in worse shape than when the tenant was evicted. Had the house been rented, this likely would not have happened.

Since there are only two types of spirits, evil spirits and the Holy Spirit of God, there can only be two types of tenants in your house: evil spirits and the Holy Spirit of God. There is no other way around it.

Back to me: After praying hard through the spring and summer of 2003, I found an answer to my problems in scripture.
there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NIV
Like the Apostle Paul, I prayed hard that God would remove this thorn from my brain. Make me whole again, Father! For a long time, there was no answer. I begged and begged Him to take it away. Finally, one day He pointed me to that scripture. He would not remove the torment, but he would give me the grace to deal with it on a daily basis. Also note that Christ's power is made perfect in weakness. Christ is stronger when we are weak. He made me weak that I may show His perfect strength.

Daily walking close to Thee is not an easy task. We are to remain with Him through prayer and reading His Word. Continue with the discipline, you will make a great disciple. 'Course, satan will attack you all the harder. But you can prepare for battle:
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
- Ephesians 6:11-18, NIV
We cannot face the master of evil unarmed. God gives us what we need for the battle. All we have to do is make sure we have it on.

In October, 2003, I worked with my psychiatrist, psychologist and several trained professionals at my church to come off the medications. They were not happy about it - none believed that it was possible for a person with bipolar disorder to ever live a med-free life, but God did it for me.

It hasn't been all rosy since that day. I've had my moments. Some were even more frightening than they were before. Ah, but read the passage above. My house was unoccupied and swept clean, so my demon went and found some buddies to foul it up even more than it was in the first place. So I seek a good tenant for my house. I seek a tenant that will not only keep it clean, but repair the damage the well-meaning landlord has done to his own property through his own stupidity. I seek the Holy Spirit.

I'm begging you - if you know of anyone who may fit this description - or if you may fit this description, please - for your sake and for those you love - get some help. See a counselor. Find the root cause - you're missing God. Fill that hole with the Holy Spirit. Renew your life.

If you need to discuss this with someone, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm here to help. But remember, I can't do a whole lot online. You'll also need to find a preacher or psychologist with whom you can speak.

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2 Comments:

  • At 3:59 PM, Blogger Simpsongirl said…

    Clay,

    You have such a powerful testimony! And it is wonderful that you are using what you have experienced to bless others who are in crisis. Thank you for sharing this.

     
  • At 1:14 PM, Blogger NChitwood said…

    clay, i'm so sorry i haven't been by in a while. life has been hectic on my end. i'm glad i stopped by today though...i read tons of great stuff that you've put on here this month! WOW!! i think i'm going to pass some of this on to a friend of mine who could benefit from it :) THANKS! hope you are doing good buddy! miss chattin' with ya!

     

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