Following my parents to board a plane to move to the opposite side of the world made it clear that our life isn’t all about me, and that my own desires were not our family’s center of gravity. This act of unsolicited submission proved to be crucial to my future discipleship; it gave me an experiential understanding of myself in relation to God.
My wife has spent almost 30 years in constant and often unbearable pain. And for many Christians, this just doesn’t fit with the faith they’ve been taught in church. For them, Christianity is about overcoming, not about enduring. It’s about dreams coming true, not shattered dreams. And it’s certainly not about persistent suffering.
When my sister walked out of her room and said she met Jesus, my mom knew all that. And here is the part that gets hard to believe: Sima, my mom, read about him and became a Christian too. Not just a regular one, who keeps it in their pocket. She fell in love. She wanted everybody to have what she had, to be free, to realize that in other religions you have rules and codes and obligations to follow to earn good things, but all you had to do with Jesus was believe he was the one who died for you. And she believed.
It’s true, I’m not deficient. There is no moral value to being bipolar. There are merely advantages and disadvantages. But the reason I have value has nothing to do with my job or productivity. It has to do with the incredible and nearly unfathomable fact that the God of this universe deeply loves and values me. Through gospel-centered and cognitive behavioral therapy, I now have a toolset to help me process and understand what I’m going through and prevent relapses.
I thought everything was perfect—in my life, in my career and even my view of a relationship with God—until October 2009 when one hit would overshadow everything and change my life forever.
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The Lord had pulled me in, securing my identity, position, and inheritance for eternity and no earthly inheritance can ever compare or diminish the faithfulness and provision of our heavenly father.
For two decades, professionals at Redeemer Counseling Services (RCS) have worked to identify ways to help the gospel become real in their clients’ lives. Clients’ lives were restored, healing was received, and joy was experienced – all due to the power and truth that the gospel brought to their lives.
In the summer of 2019, we lost my loving Dad at the age of 86 after an extended illness lasting over 10 years. He was a physician. I prayed that he would accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior for 15 years, from the moment I realized that he hadn’t. We had attended church my entire childhood and he had “gone to church” his entire life.
Inside the Christian church, the gift of grace and forgiveness—that we did nothing to earn—is delighted in, preached on, sung about and it’s there that we worship Jesus our savior with hope and joy. But what does it mean, what COULD it mean, outside the walls of the church in our secular society?