By Elizabeth Musser
Here I am, Lord, with the sun shining brightly outside the window, at last. The birds are chirping so sweetly, and our sheets are billowing in the wind as they hang on the line to dry. It’s good to be home in France, where I can still hang my clothes out on the line.
I’ve been working hard on the final edits of the new novel, When I Close My Eyes, so it’s no wonder that doing a Lectio Divina today on James 1: 1-8 is pushing buttons that take me back to the manuscript. The words that jumped out at me as I read and listened to these verses were: endurance and unstable.
And what I kept hearing in my head was a line I have in the novel: Faith and mental instability aren’t mutually exclusive.
James says that a doubting man won’t receive from the Lord because he’s double-minded and unstable in all his ways. Perhaps I’m not talking about that type of being unstable. Or am I, Lord? Because I really, really believe what I said—mental instability and faith aren’t mutually exclusive.
Are they? Is that what James is saying?
But of course, that’s not the right question because the other theme in the novel is that depression is a silent killer and those who suffer must seek help. It is hard to seek help when we’re in that unstable place.
Ah, the vicious circle.
And yet. Endurance. Throughout my years of battling depression—that fierce monster that produces mental instability—You helped me endure. Or rather, I would not have endured without You. And that endurance often came through others who helped me hold up my hands when I would have let them fall.
So Lord, my prayer is this: please let the message of this novel be one that encourages, that helps those with unstable hands to find the strength to go on, for those who have wandered from You on rabbit trails to find their way back into Your loving presence.
Endurance sounds harsh. But then so does unstable. Yet these are just words that help me understand feelings and circumstances. Lord, the hard things have produced endurance in me. Even the mental instability has drawn me closer to You, has forced me to look to Your Word for mental sustenance, forced me to figure out how to tape over the lies (back in the 80s) or upload the truth (in today’s jargon).
I say in the novel that most Christians have gone on rabbit trails at one time or another and not received what You offer. But even those wandering times and the trials they produce are evidence of Your love as You call us back to Yourself and teach us lessons that help us endure.
So today, with the sun so bright and the day before me to create, please let me smile at the future because I have learned to learn from the past. In spite of the instability of Your children, You are always stable, and You give us the strength to endure.In spite of the instability of Your children, You are always stable, and You give us the strength to endure. @EMusserAuthor #ACFWBlogs #writing #encouragement Click To Tweet
Elizabeth Musser writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Her new novel, When I Close My Eyes, will be released in November of 2019. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her blog.
Lord, make my heart cold steel
and make my thoughts run pure
to strip away all that I feel,
Lord, let my soul endure.
I did not ask for what you gave
for surely I’m no fool,
but if this leads to a grave
then use me as your tool.
I will not yield to weary pain
and will not bow to cancer;
let my resistance be my gain
and defiance my final answer.
And when You come to count the cost,
take what I’ve won; not what I’ve lost.
Absolutely beautiful, Andrew. Thank you for sharing.