As Bryant notes, A Quiet Mind to Suffer With, is “The story of Christ’s nearness to my own suffering…and how Christ will use even our agony and despair to turn us into servants and guests of the mercy offered in his gospel.” Below, we talk deeper into A Quiet Mind to Suffer With and Bryant’s treasuring of a beautiful sentence.
Lexham Press: What is the story behind A Quiet Mind to Suffer With and what is your book’s basic thesis?
John Andrew Bryant: The book is a memoir where I frame my recovery from severe OCD as a spiritual journey–out of my bondage to compulsions, through the wilderness of symptoms, to the promise land of being present in my life. It’s about how I learned to trust in Christ while having a mental illness and trusting Christ with the symptoms of that illness. It’s about how Christ is the friend of those afflicted with mental suffering, but also how that does not mean, in my case, that the mental suffering goes away.
LP: What contribution do you hope to make with A Quiet Mind to Suffer With?
Bryant: My hope is that this book helps people understand a mental illness as an affliction rather than an issue of the heart or a reflection of someone’s character. Some of the people I know–some of the great titans of the faith–are people whose mental afflictions have not gone away just because they love and trust Jesus.
LP: Describe a particularly surprising or enjoyable aspect of writing.
Bryant: There are few greater joys in life than the surprise of a good sentence, or of having written something or said something better than you thought you could. It makes you feel like Christ wants you to write, and wants what you write to be read, and that you are working alongside his gladness. One of life’s great consolations in this life is a beautiful sentence.
LP: Share with us something surprising about yourself that only your friends would know.
I’ve been told that when I’m relaxed and surrounded by people I love I can easily become what is known as “a hoot.”
People are often surprised to find out how good I am at basketball. By the time they’ve found out, it’s too late. They’ve already been dunked on.
I’m the one who’s dunked on them.
Because I am good at basketball.