Friday, September 27, 2013

Depression - Suffering Service

Depression (medical and spiritual) is a subject the church has just got to start facing and addressing. The testimony of the Warrens after their sons' recent death has helped bring this to the fore. Peter Hughes at The Briefing has written a good piece on the subject - The first paragraphs are below.
Life is pretty good at the moment. I have three great kids. My marriage is going well. We planted a church a few years ago, and we are starting to get some traction. The problems we have are because of growth. All in all, this is one of those seasons people dream about. Life is good.
And yet…
I feel like there’s a weight around my neck, a fog blanketing me. People seem to talk slowly, and my brain functions on just two cylinders. I go to sleep okay at night, but I am awake again at 4am, and by the time I get out of bed I will still be tired. A cup of coffee clears the mist for an hour or two, but then I am back deeper in it than before. Little problems are starting to feel insurmountable, and I often wonder, “Can I deal with this?” My wife is loving and attractive and yet I don’t feel the desire to express this to her. I read the Bible and the word ‘joy’ is an alien idea, and I feel I have almost forgotten what it’s like to laugh.
In short, I am suffering from depression.1
The good news for me is I understand why this is happening. I know it will end soon, but others suffering from depression will be unable to see the end. The bad news is that once I am through this, I know it will happen again, and again, and again.2
At some point in their lives, around one in five people in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States will suffer from depression. Though I don’t have the statistics, I suspect that that figure is higher in churches.3 It will affect different people in different ways, with different causes, but it is a growing problem.
Despite this, we aren’t good at talking about it in our churches—at least not good enough. There is a fear that if I’m not living a life of ‘joy’ then there’s something wrong with me. If I can’t serve like everyone else in church then something’s wrong with me. If I’m depressed, I’m not really a Christian. But by looking at what the Bible has to say about depression and what it says to the person who has depression, we see that in fact looking at depression helps us appreciate and see the glory of God even more vividly....
This is a good article. He applies the Song of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 52:13- 53:12 to our struggles with depression. I recommend it for your reading and consideration..