I know the title of this Blog may seem extreme, but I cannot stress the urgency of the current climate in our nation. Despite accessible health care, stores that have food readily available, water that flows out of facets everywhere to drink and to clean ourselves, roof over our heads with heat and air conditioning, cars, trains, buses and air transportation, computers, instant communication, law and order, and a military ready to defend us, and a million other products that make modern living so, well, so easy and comfortable in comparison with the not too distant past—-record numbers of american citizens are depressed, struggling with anxiety, suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism—-it seems as though the rudder to our national ship is gone as we wander about the ocean of life tossed to and fro’ at the mercy of the raging winds and seas.
This past Monday, Jarrid Wilson, a pastor at Riverside megachurch, and founder of a mental health advocacy group communicated on Twitter- “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts…Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression…Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD…Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety..but that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort. He always does that.”
That night, Wilson, 30, killed himself. He left behind a wife and sons.
Last August a 30-year-old pastor, Andrew Stoecklein, lead pastor of the Chino mega church, Inland Hills Church, killed himself a few days after preaching a sermon about his struggles with mental illness, leaving behind a wife and young sons.
CDC reported in 2017 alone there 47,173 suicides in our nation! Think about that—the size of small town!
It is estimated some 15.5 million Americans have been taking antidepressants for the last 5 years.
Another 40 million struggle with some form of anxiety.
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Darkness is metaphor for ignorance of who we really are and all the purposes and reasons we humans construct to function in that Darkness. If we are not His Image Bearers, then who are we? The pursuit of other identities and reasons for being lead many deeper into the Darkness, and its insidious repercussions—-depression, despair, anxiety, addictions and for some—suicide.
Our Culture is in a season of rebellion against our Creator. And I am not speaking of whether or not some one goes to church regularly. We are following the path of other great empires and nations who have turned their back on Him and embraced corruption, greed, hedonism, being self-absorbed, we are lost in the pitfalls of Intheism. The only escape from the ravages of the mental illnesses that now ravage our culture, is to follow the Light of the world—Jesus Christ! He will reveal who you really are! He will build you up and make you confident and strong! He is the Truth about you! He is the Way for you!
I will continue this discussion in my next Blog—Mental Illness in the Church—-Is our theology a cause of mental illness?