What possible good can come out of schizophrenia? What possible good can come out of losing a loved one due to schizophrenia-related complications?

Hard to imagine any good resulting from such painful and tragic circumstances isn’t it?

Well, today I want to encourage you by demonstrating how much good God can bring good out of such evil, how much light He can create out of such darkness, and how much comfort He can produce out of such deep sorrow.

Over the last couple of years, I got to know a Christian family who had seen family members suffer with mental illness, including schizophrenia. A close relative died from schizophrenia-related issues and left a substantial sum of money in his estate. After much prayer and consultation, the family decided to donate the money for research into mental illness and how it affects Christians, pastors, and churches.

Research Opportunity
The next step was to invite proposals from researchers. Thus, about 18 months ago, I announced a Major Counseling Research Opportunity on my blog and invited proposals from researchers. We received a number of excellent proposals, but the standout was one from Lifeway Research. It rose to the top not only because of the research expertise that Lifeway brought to the work but because of Lifeway’s ability and passion to get the research into the church so that pastors and Christians could use it in their ministries. What’s the point in doing the best research in the world if no one ever reads it and if the church never benefits from it?

As I discussed the proposal with Lifeway’s Ed Stetzer, he continued to expand the vision and to seek further partners that would both contribute to the research and help to make it widely available. I was, therefore, delighted when Focus on the Family also came on board and brought their own unique experience and expertise to the project.

All things for good
Do you see what I mean about God working all things together for good? Out of the tragic death of one unknown schizophrenic, two major national Christian organizations are involved in producing and publicizing research and resources that I believe will help thousands of people suffering with mental illness and their caregivers.

So, here we are, 18 months on and launch day for the research. The full study will go live here on Lifeway’s website this afternoon. Focus on the Family have also set up a landing page at Thriving Pastor that contains a summary of the research, articles on mental illness, and other helpful resources in a free eBook Serving Those With Mental Illness.

At that website you’ll also find a video interview about mental illness in the church with Ed Stetzer and Focus’s Jared Pingleton, together with numerous other recommendations for books etc. Ed’s being generating interest among various national media organizations and journalists and later on this afternoon will host a media call with Kay Warren (wife of Rick Warren).

Happy Day
It’s been a real joy and privilege to see God bringing so many strands together – painful providences, a generous family, Christian research expertise, media connections, and the bundle of buoyant life that is Ed Stetzer – to produce so much good for so many who live in daily agony of body, mind, heart, and soul.

I’ll be sharing and commenting upon the research in more detail in the days ahead, but in the meantime, why not get over to Focus on the Family, download that free eBook, and equip yourselves to serve God’s suffering children.