Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Depressed Christians

In some people's minds, "depressed" and "Christian" is an oxymoron. Their belief is often that a Christian with depression should pray their way out of it. Some think that it is a problem with sin, and that the real need is for repentance. Others hold that depression is an expression of weak (or no) faith. There is no telling how many times suffering Christians have been abused by their brothers and sisters in Christ who speak out of lack of knowledge, fear, or mean-spiritedness. One woman wrote, "...My children and I have a mental disorder that is genetically passed on called Bipolar Disorder. I had a fellow church member tell me that she hopes we ask for forgiveness every night, because we never truly repent with this illness..."

There may have been some people of my acquaintance who felt the same way, but were afraid to confront me with their erroneous ideas. They may have thought that I might give them a Biblical "rebuking." I admit that I am sometimes impatient with people who have this attitude.

I want to strongly urge you to read my prior post and others that will come, about this subject.

The question arises, have people of faith ever become depressed? If they did, and God didn't condemn them for their state of mind, then it is obvious that they continued to have a good relationship with the Lord.

My Fellow Sufferers

01-Samson-listed among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11-"...Let me die with the Philistines (Judges 4:3).'

02-Jonah the prophet-"O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life (Jonah 4:3)."

03-King David, called a "man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22)."-"My soul is in anguish...The troubles of my heart have multiplied...My eyes grow weak with sorrow...My life is consumed with anguish...My soul is downcast within me...My heart is wounded within me...I was overcome by trouble and sorrow...My spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed (Various Psalms)."

04-Moses-a hero of faith (Heb.11:23-28) and "more humble than any man on earth (Numbers 12:13)."-"I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once...(Numbers 11:15)."

05-Elijah, the prophet-after he had won a great victory against the prophets of Baal(1 Kings 18:20-40)-"...It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers (1 Kings 19:4)."

06-Jeremiah, the prophet-who was so esteemed that people thought Jesus must be him (Matthew 16:14)-"My sorrow is beyond healing, My heart is faint within me (Jer.8:18)." AND-"Why did I ever come forth from the womb to look on trouble and sorrow (Jer.20:18)?"

07-Job-who was "blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil (Job 1:1)."-"Why did I not die at birth...(3:11)?" "..My soul would choose suffocation, Death rather than my pains (7:15)."

Here, we see evidence that these wonderful men of faith and commitment were so depressed that they even would welcome death. You can't get much more "blue" than that. Yet, they were loved and praised by God.

Doctor Dowell Flatt (Th.D.), a faithful gospel preacher, has written a wonderful tract on this subject. He suffered many years from depression, even needing to be hospitalized. Hugo McCord gave him these encouraging words, "Brother Dowell, this will make you a better man. You will be able to do a far better job in helping others."

That is my prayer also. But if not... then I say, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as You will (Matthew 26:39)."

Don't be a stumbling block to others. Educate and enlighten yourself. Be humble.

["I'm so low I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]


brian said...

Brother Flatt was a great servant, but sadly he passed a year or two ago.

Anonymous said...

someone told me that he ended his own life

Stormy Joe Ward said...

I spoke with a close family friend, and the details of his death sound as though suicide was unlikely. Even so, I'm sure that we lose Christians every year to the devastating disease. All the more reason to do all we can to help and encourage others.