How does faith fit with depression?

 
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A few days ago, I watched a pastor praying over the coffins of two young Christians.

He knew they were rejoicing with God, but he still wept. He spoke about joy but choked on his words.

Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? What happened to ‘death where is your sting’ (1 Corinthians 15:55)? Shouldn’t faith turn funerals into parties?

What about depressed Christians? Doesn’t faith protect them? If they trusted God, wouldn’t they be ok? Why do faithful Christians kill themselves?

Real sadness

In my own story of battling depression, the credits are rolling. The main drama is over. The climax of suicidal thoughts has passed. But hints are being dropped about possible future episodes.

This space has given me time to reflect on one particular question: How does faith fit with sadness and depression?

Faith doesn’t cure pain. Christians still face the sadness of a broken world – grief, physical injury, or mental injury.

Jesus wept. Jesus collapsed in terror in the Garden of Gethsemane. Faith doesn’t prevent suffering, but it changes how we live with it.

Real hope

Knowing I’ve been saved by God’s grace and will spend eternity with him changes how I hope. It didn’t stop my suffering. But when I understood hope, I was able to endure. Just about.

God has put bounds on pain. God has put limits on suffering. It will end.

Faith doesn’t make it easy. The worst of my depression seems to be over, but for others it could last until the day they die. But it will end.

Friends, let’s not deny suffering. Let’s not rebuke the mentally ill. You wouldn’t rebuke someone for a broken bone.

Instead, let’s make a habit, even when we’re well, of dwelling on, and reminding each other of hope. Not religious pretence or an unbiblical stiff upper lip, but real hope in Jesus.

 
 

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