August 27, 2008

Weakness Is Strength

2 Corinthians 11:24-30

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
2 Corinthians 11:30


Shortly after she began serving on a church staff, Susan Gregg-Schroeder experienced a major depression. She couldn't eat or sleep or perform her duties. A gnawing sense of worthlessness brought thoughts of suicide. Worse yet, she had no idea what was happening to her. She saw a psychologist who recommended in-patient treatments. For two years, only the senior pastor of the church she served knew of her struggle. She feared losing her job. Finally she told the congregation her story in a letter that she titled “The Burden of Silence.” Soon after that, a parish nurse organized a meeting to help people learn more about depression. They expected a small group of people to come, but the room filled to overflowing. Together they formed a depression support group. Susan went on to found Mental Health Ministries, which educates people in faith communities about mental health issues. Anyone who has lived through a major depression knows how painfully weak one feels in the midst of it. Yet in Susan's case talking about her depression led to a wide ministry to other people. God may not ask you to “boast” of your weakness to everyone, but he wants you to share your burden with someone you trust. That may help the other person even more than it helps you.

Lord, take away the stigma of mental illness. Help each of us to let others see all of us, especially our weaknesses, knowing that our strength is in you. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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