Grace For The In-between
Our desire for the things of heaven is real. No one wants suffering or sadness, or fear or anxiety. Give me Joy. Happy. Gladness and Love. Let’s just do that.
But alas, we do not have the benefit of living in this place before the Fall of humanity. We are most decidedly in the In-Between. Between The Fall and Heaven. The space where sin lives and is a tangible, damaging, ugly thing in and around us. We don’t have to work to be selfish, we ARE selfish. And while we are here on earth we are living, working, and living with other selfish humans.
Each of us is responsible to do the internal work, to fight the fight, to endure and learn to be selfless. To love others more than ourselves. To look inside and ask ourselves, “What do I love more than God?”
The ability to take knowledge and apply it well is a gift. I’m often in awe of people who can take Biblical text and weld it with kindness, love, and mercy in such a way it is life changing to others. The narratives of the Bible, the nuances involved in the context of each passage of scripture give life and encouragement when utilized by a kind human.
The Bible is timeless, its lessons are deep and profound. However, many times us humans mess with the knowledge in the Bible and use it poorly. It takes a lifetime of learning, listening, and spending time in God’s Word and in the body of Christ to really mine the depths of all God can do in and through the lives of others.
Today on our podcast we are talking with Rachel Rosser Schulte, a gifted counselor who uses the Bible to tackle issues of mental health in today’s context. I have counselors in my own family, and several friends that are counselors as well. Their ability to strike to the real heart of an issue is amazing. I’m so incredibly grateful for people who are willing to sit and listen to the hardest parts of someone’s life, and then help a person dig deeper to pull out and inspect the things that need inspecting. I tend to internally stuff down ugly emotions myself, so I appreciate the people who are there to help us stuffers unclog our minds. We need them.
However, like anything else, we can over index on utilizing the tools of others at the expense of learning how to use the tools ourselves. If we are truly wanting to be like Jesus to the extent it is possible for us to do so, then emulating his mission style and compassion is a part of our journey.
Jesus asks amazing questions. He pushes his disciples to think and does not abandon them even when they think wrongly. Religious leaders would try to trap him in oral arguments, and quickly learned what an intelligent and compassionate mind looks like when on a mission from God. It looks, walks, and talks like Jesus.
Our minds are part of our hearts. When we push our minds in a Godly direction, we are willing to learn new things in our efforts to support and love the body of Christ. Sometimes we are learning things to fill a need, other times we are learning because it’s something we love. Either way, pushing towards a healthy application of knowledge is an important daily pursuit. And no one demonstrates a healthy pursuit of knowledge better than Jesus.
Our emotions are also part of our hearts. They are a gift from God. Part of how God made us in his image. But, just like our minds, our emotions are compromised by sin. We are living in a place where our emotions may not be constructive, they may instead point us to a false belief or wrong way of thinking. The church plays a vital role in helping its people understand what is true and what is false. But a church is rendered spineless in this area when it refuses to face the reality of our human condition in the areas of mental health. Jesus was a man acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3) and familiar with joy (John 15:10-11). He felt immense compassion and experienced deep longing to be free from his future suffering (Matthew 26:39).
And yet, despite Jesus’ grief and sadness, his choices are not sinful (Hebrews 12:2). His thoughts are constantly pointed in God’s direction. We can experience deep pain and profound joy, and in those emotions still chose to follow our Savior’s direction.
The beauty is we are not alone in our efforts. We have scripture, the Holy Spirit, and the body of Christ to walk alongside us. Leaning on these resources is part of existing in a community of believers. All of us, in some way shape are form, are called to counsel. Most of us are not Licensed Professional Counselors, but we have other Christians who are and who are willing to help us apply Biblical text is a life-giving way.
This is counseling in the church. And it’s not new, it’s as old as God walking in the garden with his creation. We are fortunate to live in a time where resources for Biblical Counseling abound and people in the church are there for equipping. My prayer is ALL God's people pray on how God would have us be available for his church, so we may become equipped for doing the work of the saints.
Our podcast today is the last in our series on Mental Health. Rachel Rosser Schulte provides amazing insight on how each of us can walk alongside those who are suffering or struggling with mental health challenges. We hope you are encouraged and motivated by our conversation.
In the podcast we reference Brad Hambrick’s website of counseling resources. Here is the link: