I was reminded recently of David Murray‘s excellent “little” book entitled, “Christians Get Depressed Too”. Tim Challies posted a blog entry about it and brought it back to mind. I had read it some time ago as a free download because I participated in Challies’ Friend of the Blog program. I am currently re-reading it and wanted to start a series of posts related to it.
Murray begins the book with a title for Chapter One: “The Crisis” In this chapter he gives eight reasons why it is important for the reader to study depression as it reveals itself in various kinds of mental and emotional suffering. Here are the eight reasons:
Why should we study this subject at all?
- Because the Bible speaks about it – (see below for additional thoughts)
- Because it is so common
- Because it impacts our spiritual life
- Because it may be prevented or mitigated
- Because it will open doors of usefulness
- Because it is so misunderstood
- Because it is a talent to be invested for God
- Because we can all improve our mental and emotional health
Because the Bible Speaks About It:
I like the way that David Murray does not shirk away from Scripture when dealing with this complex issue. He states:
…the Bible does have an important role to play in the treatment of Christians who are suffering from depression and anxiety…
While the Bible does not come out and specifically state that “Moses was depressed” or “Jeremiah was suffering from depression” it does frequently describe men and women who manifested many of the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Paul even states in 2 Corinthians 7 that God is very interested in ministering and caring for the depressed:
…But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;…
Maybe Paul was depressed, a little? That same Apostle that we turn to so quickly when we counsel those who are suffering? Fascinating. Murray gives a few examples from Scripture that may indeed have suffered from depression or anxiety:
- Moses – Numbers 11:14
- Hannah – 1 Samuel 1:7,16
- Jeremiah – Jeremiah 20:14-18; Lamentations 3:1-6
- Elijah – 1 Kings 19:1-18
- Job – Job 6:2-3,14; 7:11
- Various Psalmists – Psalms 42:1-3,9; Psalms 88
Murray quotes Steve Bloem, a pastor, in his thoughts about the Psalmists:
The Psalms treat depression more realistically than many of today’s popular books on Christianity and psychology. David and other psalmists often found themselves deeply depressed for various reasons. They did not, however, apologize for what they were feeling, nor did they confess it as sin. It was a legitimate part of their relationship with God. They interacted with Him through the context of their depression.
Murray wrapped up this specific point with a reminder taken from the Proverbs:
The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, But a broken spirit who can bear?
(Pro 18:14 NAS)
Chance to Interact: I am interested in collecting experiences between those suffering and the Church. How were you treated? Did you feel you could share openly? What treatment or counsel was offered? (if you reply via email: firstname.lastname@example.org all your information will be held in confidence; otherwise, if you’d like, please leave a comment below). Thank you