Category Archives: Depression
Pastors get stuck in the mud. Churches and denominations get stuck. Every Christian gets stuck in the affairs and demands of life. Or so it seems. As John Piper’s church began to feel mud creep around their ankles, he preached on the topic and concluded the sermon with this word of personal application:
Know this for your own personal life. Right now there’s not a person who is not stuck in something. You are stuck financially, or stuck in your health, or stuck in your marriage, or stuck in your vocation, or stuck in your spiritual growth. There’s not a person in this room who doesn’t feel in some sense: this is a moment when I’m not making any progress and everything seems futile that I try. That is never the case with the Christian! God is always doing more than you know — a thousand times more than you know. One of the great blessings of getting old is that you start to see the patterns and you can recognize them and not get so panicky as you were in your earlier years. [11/20/11 sermon video, 25:40–26:40]
Where in life are you tempted to feel stuck?
Only a few men have the joy and privilege of being part of Jon Bloom’s care group. I am one of them. The wisdom of this one man has made a deep impact in my life and I am grateful for his humility, wisdom, and counsel.
After months of darkness, light pierced the clouds. My storm didn’t stop suddenly, but it gradually lost power and dissipated and I flew into clear skies. God’s promises again proved reliable instruments. I didn’t crash. In fact, the storm served me very well. I learned more than ever before how to “walk (or fly) by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). I thank God for every minute of that frightening storm.
I would encourage you to read the entire post.
From the Desiring God National conference this Fall in Minneapolis I am reminded of a short excerpt from the first panel discussion with Justin Taylor, John MacArthur and John Piper. The question was over responding to discouragement. Piper gave this glimpse into his (very humbling) prayer life.
“Probably, I pray the prayer ‘keep me’ and ‘preserve me’ as often as I pray any prayer. Keep me saved – because I think God uses means to cause us to persevere. Keep me in the ministry – I don’t want to be a short-lived person [minister]. Keep me married – I don’t want to wreck it that way. Keep me! I pray that: ‘now unto him that is able to keep you from falling’ (Jude 24, KJV). I pray that blessing down on me a lot.”
Whether we are discouraged or not, that’s a great outline for our personal prayers.
“Feeling sorry for yourself is one of the strongest, most addictive narcotics known to man. It feels so good to feel so bad. Self-pity arises so easily, seems so plausible, and proves so hard to shake off.”
- David Powlison in the newest Journal of Biblical Counseling (Summer 2007, Vol. 25, No. 3) p. 7.
CNN is reporting that antidepressants are now the most commonly prescribed drug.
“In its study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at 2.4 billion drugs prescribed in visits to doctors and hospitals in 2005. Of those, 118 million were for antidepressants. … The use of antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs — those that affect brain chemistry — has skyrocketed over the last decade. Adult use of antidepressants almost tripled between the periods 1988-1994 and 1999-2000. Between 1995 and 2002, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the use of these drugs rose 48 percent, the CDC reported. Many psychiatrists see this statistic as good news — a sign that finally Americans feel comfortable asking for help with psychiatric problems.”
What strikes me is that apparently we all know instinctively that we can and should be happier than we really are. We were created to enjoy pleasures forever (Ps. 16:11).
Related: Dr. Peter R. Breggin, the International Director of the Center for Study of Psychiatry and Psychology writes: “In reality, science does not have the ability to measure the levels of any biochemical in the tiny spaces between the nerve cells (the synapses) in the brain of a human being. All the talk about biochemical imbalances is sheer speculation aimed at promoting psychiatric drugs. … Despite decades of research, thousands of research studies, and hundreds of millions of dollars in expense, no marker for depression has been found. To this day, the individual’s personal feelings remain the basis for diagnosing depression” [Peter R. Breggin, The Anti-Depressant Fact Book (Perseus: 2001) pp. 21, 22].