What do you say to the woman who just lost her child? to the man who is about to breathe his final breath? to the teenager who longs to break free from an addiction? to the little boy whose father beats him when he comes home drunk? to the couple whose marriage is falling apart?
Do you send them to a counselor or a psychologist? Do you give them a book to read? Do you command the demons to be gone from them? Do you instruct them to enroll in some program? Or do you open the Bible and pray for God’s perfect wisdom?
The struggle is real…
I have been in a position of great need. Who am I kidding? I am poor and needy—all the time. We all are, whether we admit it or not. In 2005 I was diagnosed with Bipolar I after yet another failed suicide attempt, when I finally reached out for help. You may read more about my story here and here. And yes, I sought help from counselors, from the medical profession, and from friends. And they did help, to an extent. I am not saying there is no help in these things. They have their place. I read books too. Books have their place. But at best these things only treated my symptoms; they could not cure me.
…but so is God
It was not until a dear friend pointed me to the Word of God that I began to heal, truly heal. When I began to read the Psalms, then true healing took place in my mind and soul. Under the supervision of my doctor, I tapered off my medications, and for many years now I have been completely free of all signs and symptoms of bipolar. Sure, I have emotional ups and downs, but so does everyone. That’s human nature. Praise God, however, I no longer have the paranoia, the manic phases, the deep depression, and the suicidal thoughts. From all of that I am free! And I found that healing in God’s Word. I no longer take medication. I no longer go to counseling. But I spend time in God’s Word every single day. Why? Because the Word of God is sufficient to meet my every need. It is the source of life, and it is alive. It is God’s love letter to you and me. It is too easy to become dependent upon medication to get you through the day. It is easy to depend upon other people for emotional support. But the best dependence is dependence on God.
He only is my Rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be movedPsalm 62:6
The Bible is enough
Some years ago I had the joy of helping a blind lady memorize Psalm 19. Each week she and I would recite the verses together, as she committed them to memory. Recently I stumbled upon a series of messages with Psalm 19 as the text, and I have listened to all of them repeatedly. In these messages, the preacher emphasized the point that God’s Word is sufficient for all our spiritual needs. I already gave assent to that, but he drove it home in my heart. As I listened, the Holy Spirit said to me, “Angela, I want you to share this with your readers.” So here it is. The preacher I have been listening to is Dr. John MacArthur of Grace to You Ministries. I use the Grace to You app to listen to his sermons as I work, and I would encourage you to get this app and listen to his messages too. They will thrill your heart as he faithfully preaches Christ.
Before listening to these messages, I had never before studied this psalm in depth. I had memorized it, but I had not internalized it. In other words, to my shame I had not taken the time to find out what God was trying to say to us in this portion of His Word. But Psalm 19 is God’s own treatise on the sufficiency of His Word to meet our every need. Please join me in this study over the next several weeks as we see what God Himself has to say about the Bible.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament showeth His handiwork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech,
and night unto night showeth knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line is gone out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them hath He set a tabernacle for the sun,
5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven,
and his circuit unto the ends of it:
and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul:
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart:
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever:
the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:
sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned:
and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors?
cleanse Thou me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me:
then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer.
Photo taken along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah, Virginia, 2014