I was reading Daniel this week and there’s a part around the middle of chapter 3 where Nebuchadnezzar is going to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace.
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you set up.” Daniel 3:17-18 NIV (emphasis mine)
That is some amazing faith! Where do I sign up for that? They say God is able to save them from the furnace but EVEN IF HE DOES NOT they are still not going to worship anything or anyone else. This is pretty convicting. In the United States we are free to be whatever religion we want. I know this is a blessing but does it make me more passive in my faith? Would I die for my faith if I had to? The worst that happens in the U.S. is that someone doesn’t like me because of my faith (and I don’t think that’s even happened).
When I was struggling very badly with OCD it was an interesting time for my faith. I asked God to take my horrible thoughts away. He didn’t. I started to doubt my faith because if I was really a Christian I should not have these thoughts. Even when I was diagnosed with OCD I would still feel guilty when I heard people talking about taking our thoughts captive and numerous other verses about controlling our thoughts. But an intrusive thought is called an intrusive thought because it’s just that, intrusive. No one wants intrusive thoughts. No one chooses intrusive thoughts. Most people have intrusive thoughts but they don’t really notice. If you have OCD you think about your worst fear and you think, that’s so horrible why would I think about that? And you obsess over it so much that you keep thinking about it and it is enough to drive you insane. There is also not very much information about OCD. Many therapists are not even familiar with all the different kinds of OCD. And it is misused way too much by people who are just “fussy.” “I like to clean my whole house every day. I have OCD.” “I like to organize everything, I have OCD.” Some people may organize and clean if they have OCD but they do not like it. No one likes having OCD. It can be very hard to live with. I used to say things like this before I knew more about OCD so I’m not scolding people. I just want to make people more aware because I’m not the only person who didn’t know I had OCD. I thought I definitely didn’t have it because I am definitely not a clean freak. A few weeks after the partial hospitalization program I was talking to Dan about how confused I was about my faith and my intrusive thoughts. “Am I really a Christian if I can’t control my thoughts? They lessened with medication so I guess it’s OCD but… I don’t know.” Dan told me I should think of it as my thorn in the flesh like Paul talks about. Paul ask so many time for God to take it away but he doesn’t.
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV
I don’t like having OCD. No one likes having OCD. I prayed for God to take it away and I would still be okay with that. But I think one reason He chose not to take it away was so I could help people who are going through similar struggles. I sometimes feel weird writing such vulnerable posts but I really want to help others. I have even thought about writing what my intrusive thoughts are but I’m not ready for that and I might never be (and sometimes they change so that makes it really confusing) While reading Daniel I was reminded of the song, Even If by Mercy Me. It talks about how God can take away our pain but even if He doesn’t we will still hope in Him. I am working on still putting my hope in Christ through my struggles. My hope in Christ has helped me through my various struggles. I am trying to use my OCD to share my faith with others and to help people who may be going through similar things. If you have intrusive thoughts you’re not a bad person and you’re not crazy. I am so thankful I was diagnosed with OCD because it helped me understand I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. You cannot control the chemical imbalance in your brain anymore that you can control any other chronic illness. If you are struggling you are not alone. Remember God loves you no matter what. And you matter.
“I know You’re able and I know you can save through the fire with Your mighty hand. But even if you don’t my hope is You alone. I know the sorrow and I know the hurt would all go away if You’d just say the word. But even if you don’t my hope is you alone.”- Even If by MercyMe