Mental Health and Spiritual Health

In an effort to nuance some of my thoughts on suicide that I posted at The Gospel Coalition, I want to write a few more posts here to answer some responses and excellent questions I have received in light of that post. Hopefully these will be helpful as you think through your own depression or those around you.

One of the first things I want to respond to relates to those who claim that if you just have enough faith you will not suffer depression. My question to that person is faith in what or in who? If you answer “God” or that you ought to have faith in “God’s love for you,” then I would say that the Bible does not teach us that category of faith equaling the lack of depression or sadness. To say so would make 3/4 of the Bible irrelevant to our experience this side of the Fall.

Just a couple days ago, I was reading Psalm 13:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I take counsel in my soul

and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;

light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”

lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;

my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

6 I will sing to the Lord,

because he has dealt bountifully with me.

We see here that David lived in reality. For someone to say that depression doesn’t happen to those who are full of faith obviously doesn’t live in the same world of betrayal and frustration and fear and pain that David lived in. . .that I live in. Therefore, such a counselor has no place in my counsel. They are out of touch with the reality that all Creation groans in the pains of childbirth awaiting the consummation of all things. We likewise groan. Longing for full, unbridled adoption. An adoption that has not bit in its mouth reminding it that life hems it in.

Such were Job’s friends. Miserable counselors for sure. As I have said, those who struggle with depression may actually be the most honest among us. Being struck by the reality of pain and suffering and that things are not the way they are supposed to be. May all who give poison under the guise of balm for our pained hearts be done with their sermonizing and lies.