The Dark Night
With great interest I read Christianity Today's March 2009 cover package, "The Depression Epidemic." As a therapist who has worked for years with Christians struggling with depression, I find that this experience drives them to question the relevancy of their faith and, indeed, the mercy of their God. Well-meaning fellow believers often respond that the problem is insufficient faith, unacknowledged sin, or even that depression is itself a sin. As a result, many Christians only get worse by becoming depressed about being depressed.
The Bible puts the lie to these notions. God did not respond to his servants in Scripture as failures or embarrassments to his plan of redemption. Instead, he responded by tenderly confronting their mistaken beliefs, redirecting their strategies for dealing with difficulties, and revealing more of himself and the majesty of his grace.
By God's mercy, our struggles can become the occasion for growth rather than self-condemnation. It's proof that God never wastes an experience, even one arising from the travails of a fallen world.
CT's cover story on depression gave short shrift to the spiritual warfare aspect of depression. Scripture clearly shows that demonic spirits can do their work via mental illness, including depression, thus rendering us ineffective for Christ. Certainly God works through health-care professionals and drugs, but we are seeing an overreliance on these instead of a faithful reliance on God and his power.
That being said, the therapeutic advice in these articles should be recommending only Christian counselors for those who need it. We should not acquiesce to placing our wounded souls in the hands of someone with a humanist worldview, which most mental health professionals ...1
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