Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
It’s Easter Week, and I fell into a rabbit hole.
It’s a family trait.
My mom was a seamstress. One evening we attended a gathering at her alma mater. She had made both our dresses. As we went in to the building, we made a silly secret pact to keep score – who would receive the most compliments on mom’s work.
Her gown won, and we giggled on our return to the car. Holding her head high in mock haughtiness, she proclaimed, “I am Queen Esther!”, and promptly fell, inelegantly, on her rear end.
The cause of this sudden loss of royal stature was a hole in the pavement. We could barely speak or move we were laughing so hard. The proverb, “Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18) came to mind, and strength failed us again.
So for me to fall in a rabbit hole is not all that odd. Years ago I sprained my ankle by doing that, only to step into the same hole a few weeks later, re-injuring the same ankle. Since I hadn’t learned my lesson the first time, I was doomed to repeat history.
This is typical of Easter weekend. Sure enough, as follower of Jesus, I responded to a woman’s small talk about Easter eggs and baskets as if it were the sum of the holiday. It was habit, because for years that is how we celebrated at my house. I fell into that same chocolate bunny routine as easily as face-planting beside a rabbit hole.
Here’s the problem though. Last night I watched the movie, “The Case For Christ,” the story of atheist investigative reporter Lee Stroebel’s conversion to Christianity following months of trying to disprove its premise. Try as he might, he could not refute the vast amount of evidence that Jesus actually died on a cross and resurrected.*
One of the many experts Stroebel consulted stated that if there was no resurrection of Christ, the Christian faith is a waste of time. However, if it did happen, it is the most important factor in life. Why?
Jesus claimed to be God’s Son, the only birth-son of the Heavenly Father. His death was to restore a sinful humanity to relationship with the One True God. HIs resurrection was to end the power of death. If he failed, we have no eternal hope. If his act was real, we have every hope.
If his act was real, our lives are not meaningless. We are not accidents. The wanted or unwanted messages of the world do not touch us. Jesus died for us, and that love is as unconditional as it gets.
If he died on the cross and resurrected, believers have no reason to fear death. The loss of saved loved ones who died is not permanent. Our focus is not on striving to survive at all costs, but rather to make life count. We have reason to get out of bed each morning.
Despite strong emotions or mental illness, we have a Savior who walks us through. God is not waiting to squash us as soon as we are weak, rather he is waiting to embrace us when we run to him for help. People fail sometimes to love us well. God’s love never fails and he never breaks promises he made to us in the Bible.
The cross and resurrection are why we celebrate Easter. It is the most important holiday for believers world-wide. I don’t want to fall in a rabbit hole of pink ribbons and toys. I want to be lifted up in the arms of Jesus, our eternal hope and unfailing love.
Today’s Helpful Word
1 Corinthians 15
“And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless… And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.” -St. Paul who did not believe and converted
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.
*Stroebel’s original theory challenged the number and reliability of original manuscripts (over 5000, some written within 30 years of the incident), and whether Jesus died and resurrected. One by one, historical facts and evidence outweighed secular presumptions. See the book, The Case for Christ for more details.