One of the difficulties in handling depression is the tendency to think that, as a Christian, you should not feel this way. We so easily imbibe the thinking that when you become a Christian all of your problems are now sorted; Jesus is alive from the dead, smile and be happy. Now there are elements of truth in that presentation of Christianity, but if that is our only perspective on our faith that in Jesus, then we will be very dismayed when troubles hit us in our mental and emotional state.
Essentially then, I would have no sympathy with the simplistic, Jesus is risen; all your problems are over, perspective on the Christian faith. This is because it is evidently unbiblical. However, I still struggle with feeling the wrongness of being mentally and emotionally frail.
I have mentioned previously here about how Satan exploits the frailties of the mind to his own malicious ends to accuse and spiritually incapacitate the Christian suffering with mental afflictions. The derailed thinking goes something like this. “I’m a Christian, but if I was a strong christian I would not feel like this and other people will think I am a pathetic weakling because I can’t keep it together when I get stressed”.
One of the best antidotes to this attack is consider examples of those who have been evidently used of the Lord, but have suffered much in the mental and emotional realm. We find them:-
- in Scripture: Elijah in 1 Kings 19 is evidently cast down even depressed. David know what it was to be cast down in spirit. Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? (Ps. 42:5a) is his lament.
- in history. It is good to read Christian biographies and know of the likes of Cowper and Spurgeon who suffered in this realm.
- in experience. It is such an encouragement to know of other believers who have suffered much with depression. I met a godly lady last month who would be in her eighties who had suffered much through depression for many years. This was such an encouragement to know that someone with such evident commitment to the Lord could suffer so much.
Through this I am encouraged that I am not alone.