God allows some of us to have a fear-system disorder called OCD. Why would He do that? Martin Luther occasionally discussed the terrible anxieties he had suffered as a monk in the years before he experienced his reformation breakthrough—what we would now call clinical obsessions. For instance, he would again and again be struck by […]

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Our clinical understanding of OCD is a great development. Not long ago, a student told me about the moment when she first learned she had the disorder. She had struggled mightily with obsessions and compulsions throughout her childhood and adolescence—thoughts of harm and blasphemy tormented her almost constantly. I grew up living insane. No one […]

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It seems unfair that God allows some of his children to suffer for no apparent reason in terrifying uncertainty, fearing this disaster or that and never obtaining quietness of heart. Despite everything they do, their fears become only stronger. Trying their best to have faith in God, they are unable to feel his comforting word […]

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Most Christians would agree that faith is the most important thing. It’s what God wants of us the most. But faith is not what some people think it is: It is not simply to “believe;” not just accepting certain ideas as true. Rather, it is sure trust in all-powerful God’s mercy towards us. As put […]

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  Many people think that faith means being sure that something is true. For example, when Jesus says “whoever believes in me will live,” they think saving faith means being certain I believe that sentence is true. This is an incorrect assumption. According to Martin Luther, In this matter of faith, often he who claims […]

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Obsessions occur in two forms: questions and assertions. For instance, a contamination obsession might take the form, “what if my hands are still dirty?” Or it might pop up as, “your hands are dirty!” Uncertainty in present in both. In assertions, it becomes prominent as the OCD sufferer begins begin to question why the thought […]

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A graduate student consulted me not long ago for a problem with “opposite thoughts.” Whenever he thought of something good, a bad thought about the same thing would take its place. “I’ll be thinking how nice the day is, and then I see an atomic bomb exploding it up,” he told me. “Or I’ll be […]

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“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 […]

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When struck by a powerful fear, we ought to put our trust in God and take comfort in his promises: He will not test us beyond what we can bear, he is all-powerful and merciful towards us, and all things work together for good. Normally, we can strengthen our trust through activities such as prayer […]

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The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. (Psalm 147:11) Sometimes OCDers have only hope to lean on in order to endure their fears. This happens when faith cannot be found. One powerful reason to keep hoping is, of course, our anticipation that we will receive […]

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