Short answer, Yes.
Hook statement? I’m living proof. I’ve been moments away from suicide and been brought back from that dark brink. My Faith had not failed, my will to carry on had been exhausted. Body, mind, and career all imploded in such a way that it felt like the world, my family, and my friends would have been better off without me.
Still here? Awesomesauce! Mental health is a tough subject to talk about. The Lord knows – I spent decades learning that it was ok to admit that I loved Jesus, trusted Him with my soul and everything He’s blessed me with, AND I still had days I couldn’t crawl out of bed. Moments where my heart was pounding out of my chest with a deadline looming, even though I had thoroughly prepared and accomplished all needful tasks.
Yes, Faith is real, and necessary, for eternal life as well as a bountiful life here below. Depression and anxiety are real too, along with a host of serious mental illnesses. These are not mutually exclusive. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t know their Bible.
Moses had anxiety when he did his best to avoid returning to Egypt. He showed it again when he fell on his face before accusers.
Elijah suffered from depression. After the highlight of his career – after years of drought, God was sending rain because his servant prayed for it. Alone, he faced over 400 prophets of Baal, in front of the entire host of Israel. Hundreds of thousands of people watched this showdown. (Performance anxiety anyone?) God gave Elijah the victory, the entire nation turned back to God, and he fulfilled his purpose. Then came one letter from Jezebel, and he ran into the wilderness and asked God to end his life. Yes, Elijah was suicidal from depression.
There’s so many examples throughout the Bible, and I’d like to focus on God’s response to both of these moments. Nowhere in God’s Word will you find our Creator chiding someone for dealing with these conditions. Instead, he allowed Moses to run out of excuses, and then said, “Your brother is almost here. He’s going with you.” Have you considered that? For Aaron to reach Moses was a journey of weeks. God has already sent Aaron to Moses before this star in the Hebrew galaxy could even bring up his fears. Take a minute to consider how comforting our God is.
Elijah had ravens bringing him food. Again, there had been years of famine and no rain. God led Elijah to one of the few running brooks in the wilderness. Birds were bringing him food when no one else had any. Then an angel shows up and feeds him heavenly grub, urges Elijah to take a nap, feeds him again, and sends him on an ultramarathon. (Funny how much research shows us that exercise is the #1 antidepressant. Almost as if the Creator knew something about our bodies.) All of this led to three mighty displays of God’s power.
How did the Almighty answer his servant’s depression? A snack, a nap, some exercise, and then a still small voice gently explains that there are thousands of others working alongside Elijah… he was NOT alone.
One last thought, our Lord was moved with compassion multiple times. He saw human frailty and moved to intervene. When looking for an example the people could understand, He said, “My yoke is easy, my burden is light.” A yoke was hundreds of pounds of wood suspended between multiple oxen to pull wagons or plows. Jesus said, “My yoke is light…” A yoke takes a minimum of two to pull straight. This simple statement said, “I will get in the yoke with you and walk by your side.” The rest referred to the burdens the people would carry on their backs everywhere they went. Again, He offered to lighten the burdens of any who would follow Him.
There’s so much I want to share on this subject. Next time we’ll talk about some of the victories He’s given me along my path. For now, I’ll leave you with this great promise. I Peter 5:7 commands us “Casting all your cares on Him, for He careth for you.” The Creator of the universe wants to carry your burdens. Would you lay them at His feet and be free? It doesn’t mean the problem, the depression or anxiety, whatever issue you are thinking of right now, will disappear. What I can promise is He WILL walk with you and provide comfort along the way.
I’m living proof.