2006-05-31 - Summer Questions
2006 #1 - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
1 Corinthians 12:8, 9, "Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
Today we begin the summer questions. I am starting with this one for a simple reason. It came in first. Every year I have always made the first question to come in the first one I do, no matter what it is. I know I did not say that when I announced that we were doing them, but I just announced it now. I am thankful this question was the first. It is a great example of what I am looking for. It has an issue and yet is concise...Perfect. Thank you all so much for sending in these wonderful questions. They really run the range this year and will be a real challenge. You can still submit them, and some of them might pop up on days other than Wednesday. I have received quite a few, some very personal, some just honest questions. I have read them all. Don't feel discouraged if I do not get to your question right away. It is not personal. It is not because one was better than another. Honestly, my selection process is rather random, because each one is important to me. So here we go...#1
"I have struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for years. It is a very depilating disorder which effects my life greatly. Through much prayer for my healing, my prayers have not been answered. I believe that this (and all things evil) are gifts from Satan. I've thought often about spiritual healing, but I am frightened of it (plus I do not know of anyone in Baltimore). What is your thoughts on this?"
My first comment is that I am not a medical doctor, and so I will not pretend to discuss various medications and treatments available to you. You are on your own there. There are several things I hope to do here today. First, I hope to explain this to those who might not know what it is. Second, I hope to encourage you. Third, I hope to deal a little with the issue of seeking spiritual healing. Fourth, I hope to encourage everyone to rest in Christ. So let us have at it.
First, those who suffer with OCD often can't forget things. Before you say, "Wow, where do I sign up?" Let me explain. It is not that those with OCD have great memory capacities and can remember a conversation word for word, or read a chapter of the Bible and remember it perfectly, would that it were.
Let me try to give an example of how someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder differs from someone without it. You come home from work, place your purse or wallet here, keys there, change there, jacket over there, etc. Sometimes, you put the keys in a different spot, and when it is time to leave again, where are the keys? Someone with OCD is forever wondering where the keys are and has the urge to get up, stop what they are doing, and make sure that the keys are where they are supposed to be. Not just once, but even after checking, there is still the urge to make sure. It becomes a redundant loop of thoughts that keep assaulting the person. It is like a broken record that skips over and over again on the same note.
There are some new treatments that have shown promise, and I would encourage you to check them out. I don't feel qualified to go into detail, but apparently one recent treatment that has worked with some is called Remedial Neurofeedback Training. While OCD can be a real and honest struggle, some people have had very productive lives living with OCD. Some names you might recognize of those who have had OCD are: Howard Hughes, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, and Joey Ramone. Some who are living and are reported to have OCD are: Winona Ryder, Florence Nightengale, Howie Mandel, Harrison Ford, Woody Allen, and for all you modern rockers out there, Fiona Apple. You can be productive and live with OCD. I would like to go deeper here, but space is failing me. I encourage you to try to memorize the passage we began with, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9.
I also encourage you to continue to pray for healing, and seek to get others to pray for you also. Regarding if this has been sent by Satan, again, I cannot speak to that much. However, I can say this. Satan is under the control of God. He has no power that God does not grant Him. We see this very clearly in Scripture when we consider the example of Job. See especially chapters 1, 2, 38-42. even though this might be a great struggle, it still falls under the providence of God. Remember, that the ways of the Lord are "past finding out," "unfathomable," Romans 11:33.
I think your fear of spiritual healing is well founded. I believe in spiritual healing, but only through Christ. Christ does not need an earthly mediator to heal any of us of anything. He Himself is our mediator, and I am very shy to encourage others to, or myself personally to become involved in the realm of the Spirit beyond what is clearly laid out in Scripture. Scripture tells us that Christ is sufficient. His blood speaks better to our needs than any mediator here on earth claiming to have such a special office (Hebrews 12:24). I encourage you to continue to pray.
There are principles here which apply to all of us who name the name, and rest in the finished work, of Christ. We all have needs, hopes, and desires. It is to Christ that we flee to meet our needs, exceed our hopes, and direct our desires. There is no other way to put it, and it is funny that in the times in my life when I have sought the Lord most earnestly in prayer, I have felt the need to seek Him even more. Communion with Christ leads to a longing to commune more with Him and the struggles, worries, and hurts we all have and experience begin to fade in the matchless majesty of the precious blood and mercy we have secured in Christ.
Lastly, I think what you are doing is exactly what you should be doing. You know you have this issue. You are seeking the Lord to deal with this in releasing you from it. I encourage you to persevere in this. I also encourage you to research some of these treatments. There are several out there that are not medication based, and there are also various medications that can help you cope. However, in the end we all, with you, must rest in Christ and His sustaining grace for our lives. Where else can we turn? As the hymn says, "Who is a pardoning God like thee? And who gives grace so rich and free?"
Soli Deo Gloria,