I want to direct you to a blog that has been of great help to me, and a particular post of interest. C. Michael Patton is an author for Parchment and Pen over at Reclaiming The Mind. I just want to take a minute to tell you how much of a friend he has been to me, even though I’ve never actually met him in person.
I followed his blog silently for the most part and loved it. I didn’t always agree with his conclusions but he challenged me to seek God more. His posts are real, and has something that I think is missing from a lot of theological blogs – shoe leather. I had read this post (I linked to it so you would read it…don’t disappoint me), among others but didn’t know that God was giving me a friend to pull me through what was going to be one of the toughest times I had ever been through to date.
A while back, doubt like I had never experienced began to set in. I couldn’t sing at church without wondering if any of it were true. I didn’t want to open the Bible because I was afraid more doubts would just pour in and I couldn’t deal with them. I couldn’t work and didn’t want to eat. I became suicidal and didn’t want to tell anyone out of shame but knew I had to talk to someone. God reminded me of Michael. I e-mailed him requesting he pray for me as I figured he could identify with what I was going through (you’ll understand after reading the post I linked to). He promptly set up a time to talk over the phone and he encouraged me more than I could ever really explain. He let me share exactly how I felt and what I was going through and we discussed the nature of doubt, the historicity of the resurrection, amidst other things that were plaguing me. He reached out with the love of Jesus Christ to a brother in need. He took time out of his day to not only talk over an hour with me initially, but to call and check up on me later to see how I was doing as well as pray for me routinely. In short, he cared for me. The doubts didn’t magically disappear (Michael is cool but he isn’t a miracle worker) but he gave me truth that was rock solid and to which I could cling to – and still do.
Had Michael not taken time to strenghthen a brother I don’t know where I would be right now as I felt I was in an abyss. ALWAYS be eager to use any and every means you have to encourage others in The LORD. A phone call, an e-mail, a Facebook status update, a quote on Twitter – all of these means of communicating with others. Every one of them is not just a way to evangelize, but also to speak truth to our fellow believers and encourage them. The first thing a hurting or struggling person wants to do is clam up. They believe Satan’s lies that no one else struggles like that, or that others will think poorly of them if they disclose what they’re struggling with. In times like that it’s near impossible to differentiate between what is Satan and what is the individual. We must be sensitive to those around and us and be eager to exhort them. Let’s keep pointing people to Jesus, and if they can’t seem to find Him let’s carry them to Him.
Michael, I can’t thank you enough for the encouragement you have been to me. When I couldn’t see the Messiah, but needed to see Him most, you helped clear the rubble of confusion and made a clear path for me to behold and run to the risen Christ. Thank you! May God richly bless you and your family!