OCD and Christianity

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…” There is a reason the 23rd is the most popular of all the psalms: It illustrates perfect faith. The sheep walks through the valley of the shadow of death without fear, trusting that the shepherd will take care of it. The sheep, therefore, is a model for all Christians; and especially for OCD suffers, who spend much of their lives in terrifying uncertainty. OCDers must set their sights on developing the kind of trust that is displayed by this sheep in this psalm. To do so is the whole purpose of our lives: to grow closer to God through trusting Him. As we have been told, we are saved by faith.

How do we trust like the sheep? The sheep didn’t do a lot of thinking about how to trust, studying up on it, asking other sheep their opinions, or googling on it. It learned to trust through experience! Maybe the sheep had to enter the valley of the shadow of death a hundred times before it learned that the shepherd would always chase away any threatening wolves. This is the way it is for OCD sufferers with tormenting thoughts. The thoughts are the wolves. They snarl and threaten. But the shepherd, our Lord, has watch over us. The situation is in his hand. We just need to learn to trust in that.

The bottom line is that we must take the risk of enduring fear and uncertainty in order to learn God’s love and his power. When faith is hard to grasp, when it seems impossible to attain, when it seem that God has turned his back on us, we must go forward in hope—hope that the shepherd is watching—while we enter into the dark valley. We must stop compulsively reassuring ourselves and take the risk of enduring fearful uncertainty until we learn to have faith.



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