“It just goes to show that money doesn’t make you happy.”
“Wealth, fame, and popularity does not bring joy.”
“Having lots of money or being famous will not bring you inner peace.”
And although I agree with the truth behind these statements, we sometimes like to say certain statements to bolster the position of the Christian. We say them to show (albeit falsely) that we don’t struggle with these types of things. I am sure you have heard them. They go something like this:
“We Christians have that inner peace that the world doesn’t have.”
“Having Jesus Christ in my life keeps me from being depressed.”
“If they only had God in their life, they wouldn’t struggle like they are struggling now.”
Anyone that has been a Christian for any length of time and has dealt with people, knows the real truth – Christians struggle with depression too.
In November of 2010, I officiated a funeral for a fifteen year old boy in upstate New York. Cause of death? Suicide. This young man had been saved and knew Christ as his Saviour for eight years. In 2008, I attended a teaching conference in New England and heard for the first time a pastor by the name of Greg Baker teach some lessons on teaching/reaching people. I enjoyed his charisma, his personality, and his teaching. It didn’t hurt that he had led in the dynamic growth of a solid church in Canada – an area where churches typically struggle to survive, much less grow. A year later Pastor Greg Baker was found dead in his own home. Cause of death? Suicide. This was someone who didn’t just know Jesus Christ personally – he taught about having a relationship with Christ on a regular basis.
In my years of pastoring and counseling people, depression continues to be as relevant a topic among Christians as well as non-Christians. Let’s quit hiding behind the clichéd sentences and polished statements. Let’s quit pretending that this is something only the unsaved, wicked, far-away-from God person deals with. Christians struggle with depression too.
While sitting at the dinner table with my wife and four children yesterday, we discussed the suicide of Robin Williams. But we also discussed others who we knew to be Christians who committed suicide. And then we talked and talked about the importance of reaching out and getting help if one finds themselves at a point in life where suicide seems the only answer.
I love to teach about the amazing exploits of the great men and women in the Bible. However, let’s not stop at those stories. Let’s also tell the stories of people in the Bible who struggled with depression. Stories like Elijah who was so depressed he asked God to take his life. Stories like Job, who was a greater Christian than any on the earth at the time (God said this), who wished he was never born. Stories like David, who although one of the most beloved and greatest characters in the Bible, opined at times about being like a dove and flying away from all of his problems and being at rest.
So, fellow Christian, quit looking down on people who struggle with depression. And quit thinking that just because you are a Christian, you are exempt from ever struggling with depression. Being a Christian does not keep me from anything (other than Hell) that an unsaved person goes through in this life. Remember that. And then remember that although we have a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother in Jesus Christ, for some Christians, that friendship with Christ is strained and so they struggle as much as a lost person would.
Have you talked to your friends and family recently about this important subject? Make that call today…text that one person today…talk to your children today. Even if they know Christ as their Saviour because Christians struggle with depression too.