Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hanging in the Balance Part 1

I have been meaning to write for a long time but have been prevented by various causes, some of which has been laziness, most of which has been that I haven't had the time.

A lot of what is written in this post are random thoughts that came together. I wrote far more than I intended to and did not get to any of the topics I really wanted to write about. My mind is heavy, and has been for the past two weeks.

There is more to come, but for now, enjoy some ramblings...

I have had to deal with another death recently, the death of a friend from church. It was a very unexpected death, a car accident. The man always seemed to be thankful for everything in life. He didn't pretend that life was always rainbows and butterfly's, but He did have a sense of real joy and appreciation for all of life. My heart feels grief in a very deep way. My Black Dog has been following rather closely these past two weeks because of this. A lot of other things I have been stressing about lately probably haven't helped this either, but overall my Black Dog seems to not be following me around as much as it used to. Grief and anger are definitely appropriate emotions to stressors in life, something I am finally getting used to understanding.

Since I recieved the Lord I have noticed that I have become much more broken and much more healed as a person the longer that I walk with Him. It's funny because although I am often convinced that I know what is what in life, I am getting to a place more and more where I know that I really don't have a clue about anything other than that I need God. It is kind of strange that, while coming to faith in Christ is something we must do by crying out to Him, we are so hard-bent to attribute our being saved to our own free will and ability. I do believe in Reformed Theology in regards to salvation, but even a biblical Arminian knows that apart from a miraculous gift of God opening our hearts to come to Him, even if it is just to the possibility of being able to come to Him, we have NO HOPE. I think when we attribute our salvation to anything except for God's grace, we rob Him of glory. When we say that we, as DEAD people, can lift ourselves out of our graves without any help and come to God, we just show that we know NOTHING of what it means to be saved. This does not mean that we are not saved when we do this, but it does show that we do not at all understand how hopeless we were (and are) and how amazing and gracious God's gift of salvation truly is.

Even the Roman Catholic Church proclaimed that a person cannot come to Christ without the assistance of grace. Isn't it, then, strange that the people who proclaim to be justified by faith alone apart from works will often deny this?

It has often been stated that while the Church had long ago decided that man does, in fact, need God to give Him grace to Him, that the Reformation was largely about the extent of man's need for grace.

How all of the reformers before Calvin were "Calvinists" before the man was born, is an interesting thing. The same thing goes for how there were "Arminians" in the Church before Jacobus Arminius ever stated His doctrine in 5 Points.

Oddly enough still, "those silly Calvinists who put all of their doctrine into a 5-Point System" only did so in response to a 5-Point System made by a person in the Church who had strayed from what the Church already traditionally taught without the make-up of "the 5 Points of Calvinism". Sadly, most people don't know this, nor do they care.

I have had a lot of stress over a friend of mine who has been suffering (for years) with mental health issues. He is a brilliant person in many ways; He has a true gem of a mind and intellect. However, he is often raved by the "madness" I have known in times past and does not realize how desperately he needs help. There isn't much good in trying to help someone who doesn't want to be helped or know that they need it. It breaks my heart to see them continuing to struggle, but there is little that I can do but pray and cry. This situation has broken my heart in many ways.

Even in getting help for mental health issues, it is hard to define what "help" is and how it is given. I definitely know that medication is necessary for some people, as is therapy, but, in my opinion, the whole field of psychology and psychiatry is largely all a matter of grey areas, with very little that we actually know. I had a psychology teacher in my Human Services degree program that taught us how to examine scientific evidence in a way that we could actually see and note what the evidence itself stated as opposed to what people have interpretted the evidence to mean. There lies a big difference between what we actually know and what we assume we know from science. Science is not a bad thing in itself, but when scientists answer the wrong question with the data they gather, nothing they do is of any real value.

I take a medication for mental health and neurological reasons that helps very much. The older type of this type of medication can cause people to have tardive dyskinesia if the medicine is used for a prolonged period of time. The newer type of medication is supposed to decrease the risk of having tardive dyskinesia, as is advertised, but the truth is that no one has lived long on these medications to actually find out, as the drugs haven't been out long enough to tell. The drug is supposed to do better at not having this to occur, but truthfully no one knows. It may not. The new drugs certainly have other benefits that the older versions lack, but I could very well end up dealing with the same side effects that people who took the older versions sometimes have.

My point is not whether or not I will have to deal with drastic side effects, or whether or not it bothers (I haven't really thought about, to be honest), but that getting help in the mental health world, regardless of from whom, is, for the most part, a walk in the dark. If you are just hopeless enough to stumble through the dark with a doctor for long enough, eventually you might get helped. I am very grateful for the help I have recieved, but I can't pretend that any part of this process is easy in any sense at all. What do you tell someone who is asking you what getting treated for mental health reasons is like? There is a vast difference of opinion of "brain treatment" from those who deal with "brain issues" as a real part of their everyday life and those who work in this field professionally. A person can't "clock out" from their brain or take a vacation if they need to: it's always there with you. I do not say this for the purpose of disparaging those who work in these fields who have never had any real-life experience in dealing with these issues themselves, but I am stating that a person who suffers from these issues has a very different picture of what "getting helped" means.

I graduated from college with a degree in the helping profession but I am still sorting out a lot of the things I learned. Quite frankly, I don't know what "helping" someone means, what it looks like, or what the overall goal is. I know I need the Gospel; I also know I need medication. Where does "helping" someone end and giving them more tools to run from God begin? How does a Christian interact as a genuine Bible-Believer with a field built largely upon secular humanism? I don't really have any answers in all of this in any sense. I will say that people who are not spiritually discerning and analytical people will find that most secular education is severely damaging, if not damning, to the souls of those who are truly seeking to know God. That is not to say that a person will lose their salvation in college, it may just mean that they will arrive in heaven having lived their life with some very confused beliefs thrown in with the Gospel.

Thank God for Grace and for His Providence. I know nothing, except the following:

"The terrors of Law and of God
with me can have nothing to do.
For My Savior's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view."
-Augustus Toplady

More to come...

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