Friday, July 22, 2011

Depression and The Ministry

I found the following Gospel Coalition Blog series on depression and the ministry EXTREMELY helpful, particularly Garrett Higbee's article (#2) on diagnosing depression in one's self as a pastor, and Bob Kellemen's article (#5) on facing depression with Christ. Here are all the titles, authors, and links:

Paul Tripp, Part 1: The Setup

And here is a very helpful quote from Dr. Kellemen's article, just to convince you to read the whole series:

Victory Over or Struggling With?

Whatever Paul’s thorn in the flesh was, even after pleading with God three times, God chose not to remove it. Consider how common it was for Paul to “struggle with” rather than to experience “victory over.”

“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death” (2 Cor. 1:8-9a).

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8-9).

“. . . in great endurance; in troubles; in hardships and distresses . . . sorrowful, yet always rejoicing . . . ” (2 Corinthians 6:4b, 10a).

Rare is the person who experiences miraculous, instantaneous, and ongoing victory overdepression. Rather than being discouraging, the candid message of daily courageousstruggles against depression is encouraging because it’s true to life as we live it in a fallen world in fallen bodies.

Pastor—in all integrity I have to share with you that God does not guarantee “victory over.” God does not promise “cure” or “recovery” if by that we mean the guaranteed removal of all symptoms of depression. However, God does promise to comfort and care (2 Cor. 1:3-5). He does promise that what cannot be cured can be endured (1 Cor. 10:13)

And one more by the same author:

Pastor—how will you know when you’re “cured”? When finding God is more important than finding relief. When knowing Christ and being like Christ is more important than finding a cure. When you’re facing your depression face to face with Christ so you’re increasingly reflecting the face of Christ.

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