Posted by: Jo | May 15, 2015

A Sanctuary Filled With Grace

“I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever.”

(Ezekiel 37:26)

image There has been much more public awareness about that often hidden, devastating condition that according to statistics, affects one in five North Americans; mental health. This last month the media has concentrated upon bringing the problems that those who are burdened by this, into the open. Once an affliction of shame which one was not able to admit coloured one’s life, is now freely spoken of in great hopes that those who are suffering will seek help and probably more important that they will find that help in the love and understanding of others.

We listened to a powerful sermon this Sunday on this topic and the theme was “Loving Into Wellness” The speaker enlightened us to the fact that, mental health, came in all sorts of different forms ranging from depression, compulsive behaviour, addiction, unresolved conflicts from the past crippling normal thoughts. He also challenged us to the fact that possibly many in our own congregation, perhaps among our friends or fellow workers, were hiding behind a facade, too afraid to admit they needed help.

Following that sermon I came across a beautiful expression in a devotional I was reading,

CREATE A SANCTUARY OF GRACE

The message summed up all I had been reading this month about mental health and answered the question, “how could we as servants of a loving God possibly help?” I looked up the definitions of these two words. A sanctuary is a safe place, a haven, a refuge from anything harmful. Grace can be defined by a divine influence, a rendering of the soul to perform with supernatural power. I realised we can do this in our own lives with the help of the Holy Spirit.

image A sanctuary does not necessarily need to be a place. God promised the children of Israel that he himself would be a sanctuary in the midst of them. (Ezekiel 37:26) so we can ask that others will feel his presence when we make space in our lives for those who are hurting and grace is also a gift from him, so we can fill that space with his grace so others can come to feel safe and to be blessed. If we are nervous about what we can say to those hurting ones we can take courage that the Lord will provide the words;

“… and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.” (Psalm 45:2)

The other powerful message I received from the sermon was this;

LOVE BELIEVES RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE

God does most of his work through people and when we remember what a mighty and powerful God he is, we can have confidence that through his love recovery is possible and we can bring that confidence with us when we welcome the hurting to share in his love.

image Jesus welcomed the burdened into his presence

“Come to me, all you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

But often the burden is so heavy for those beset with mental illness they need somebody beside them to help carry that burden into Jesus’ presence.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

The Lord is asking us to open the eyes of our hearts so we can see those who need his grace.

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Responses

  1. So calming to read your blog Jo.
    I feel surrounded by His presence and am so thankful for his love and guidance !

    Like

  2. Dear Jo, while your words encourage us to be a sanctuary for others who are burdened, particularly with mental illness – and we all know someone who is – they also remind us that when life just seems to be getting on top of us we can rest in the sanctuary of the Lord – our family anf friends. Thank you.

    Like


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