In 1995, I was a young, ambitious pastor serving a small village church in Northeastern Pennsylvania. One Sunday, I delivered a sermon on human illness and divine healing in which I shared these words:
When we become ill, it is important to listen to our bodies and pray that God help us make necessary changes. Our ailments may be blessings in disguise. We may be expecting too much from ourselves, or avoiding things we need to face. As we listen to our bodies, talk and reflect with others, and pray together, we can gain spiritual insight which will help us live healthier, more productive, more abundant lives.
The next day, I was in the seclusion room of Clarion psychiatric hospital. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Over the coming weeks, I was told I would never work as a pastor again, that my marriage would likely end, and that I would spend the rest of my life in and out of psychiatric hospitals. That was the prognosis for my illness. Some on my treatment ...1