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You never dreamed the day would come that you’d place a family member with schizophrenia in an assisted living facility or a state psychiatric hospital, especially a facility in a rundown part of town.  “How could this be Christ-like?” you groan.  Even a pleasant location means little to you when the person you love (or grew not to love) now lives in a small shared room that is no place like home.

To make matters worse, your decision might have taken place quickly, with few options available and with no easy route to a certain end.  Afterwards, guilt and regret tried to follow you like pests. Knowing that resources are insufficient, how on earth will you make the next gut-wrenching decision?  You will fare better with your difficult choices when you keep your eye on what you have and not on what you lack.  What you have is divine.

When describing what you have, three words come to mind: pity, love, and power.
Pity.  The apostle James said Christians have seen “the end of the Lord,” the summary of his dealings with all of us: “the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.” At times we will only recognize his compassions and mercy at the end of our struggle, yet He worked throughout the whole. James pointed to Job as an example.

Love.  As a Christian you are marked by God’s loyal love for you.  The Shulamite girl in the Song of Solomon (Canticles) said of her beloved, “his banner over me was love.” You can say the same of your heavenly father.   His love steadfastly and resolutely abides upon you no matter what decisions you hastily make and no matter how poorly chosen they seem.  His love compels him to intervene in your life, for good—always for your spiritual good and often for your earthly good.  The mental health system does not faze him.

Power.  God has power, not only to halt the earth’s rotation or set boundaries for the seas, but to also “raise up those who are bowed down.” When you take care of someone bowed down by mental disorder, you will consider this raising up a miracle, even when it takes place over much time.  Though no one can predict in what ways God will aid you, you can count on love and pity to guide him.

Dear beloved of God, make your tough decisions knowing God will move through them and around them with pity, love, and power.  Balance the painful and desperate emotions of your heart with the grace and hope-filled truths of God’s heart.  Combined with the prayers of others on your behalf (do not hide your troubles), you will tip the scales.

Scriptures: James 5:11, Song of Songs 2:4, Psalm 146:8

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