Christian author and pastor Max Lucado is sharing how the Holy Spirit has helped him battle anxiety throughout his recent health struggles.
Roughly a year ago, Lucado made a video post informing people that he was diagnosed with an ascending aortic aneurysm. The medical condition is an abnormal bulging and weakening in an aorta at the point before the curve. If an aortic aneurysm ruptures, it can cause life-threatening bleeding.
In the video, he asked for people's prayers during the coming days and months ahead.
"As far as dealing with anxiety, I really spiralled downward," Lucado recently shared with The Christian Post.
Sharing about his condition further, Lucado explained his aneurysm is two centimetres away from needing open heart surgery.
"I'm 67, almost 68 years old. And I'm finally coming to grips with the fact that I'm not getting younger. I'm a slow learner. I kept thinking, 'I'm going to dodge all these major health issues.' So for the first two or three days, it was really a wake-up call."
After the initial diagnosis on a Monday a year ago, Lucado was filled with anxiety. Then something wonderful happened three days later.
"I really felt, in a supernatural way one morning … I felt it lift," he says. "I really did it just lift. And it's not that I was healed, because I'm not, but the fear or the anxiety was lifted. And I attribute that to the Holy Spirit. I sought prayer and I received prayer, and so I can say now honestly, I do not live in fear of that."
The medication Lucado's on to manage his health causes him to have moderate to severe mood swings. He's found a positive aspect of these side effects.
"In that sense, it's been a blessing because it's caused me to be more aware of leaning on the Holy Spirit more, and it's also caused me to be more compassionate toward people who have battled mood swings or depression, whether slight or severe, all of their lives because I do not. I have been spared that particular struggle. But now I'm much more compassionate with a person who goes through what they may be feeling."
Lucado recently published a book, Help is Here: Finding Fresh Strength in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit.
He understands that some Christians are uncertain when it comes to talking about the Holy Spirit, with some views more extreme on either side.
"Somewhere in the middle is the God-fearing person, the Bible reading student, the disciple, the follower of Jesus, who truly wants everything that the Holy Spirit will give him or her and is not seeking any platform, not trying to show off, but always just keeping a humble heart. And I believe that's the best posture in which to be; that's the posture that really creates the soil out of which the fruit of the Holy Spirit can grow."
Lucado is candid about his own health struggles and the anxiety that followed, while pointing readers, and himself, to the One who holds it all.
"Don't try to shoulder this on your own. And don't beat yourself up," Lucado says. "I do think it's important for us to remember this life is not intended to last forever. We all will have afflictions, and we all will get sick. And unless Christ returns, we're all going to have a heart that stops beating at some point. And that's not bad because the minute we close our eyes to this earth is a minute we open our eyes to the New Kingdom. And that will be the great thing; the great victory."