The Bible sure does speak about psychological health and illness, sans the modern labels. One of the hallmarks of the Bible is its truthfulness. Even the celebrated ‘heroes of the faith’ are not candy-coated, about their challenges, struggles, faltering, and failures.
Through the Bible, we see heroes of Faith – David, Job, Elijah, Jonah, Timothy, Paul, and even our Lord Jesus, go through Psychological anguish and turmoil.
David asks “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?”(Psalm 42:11). In Psalm 32:3, he records, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” He echoes his psychological anguish and distress again in Psalm 38, a very poignant cry from the depths of his soul. “I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning” (Psalm 38:6) and “I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart” in Psalm 38:8. Psalm 116:3, he records, “The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.”
Job uses similar language to express his distress in 3:26, “I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Elijah during deep anguish in his life pens these painful lines in 1 Kings 19:4, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” Jonah in 4:3, pens something similar, “Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Dealing with deep feelings of despair, anger, depression, and loneliness is not a unique modern-day struggle, though its incidence is clearly higher today.
The Lord Jesus Christ himself, at the verge of the most intense, grueling, and dark spiritual-emotional-psychological hour before the Cross says in Matthew 26:3, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Luke records the same incident in Luke 22:44 thus, “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Overwhelming sorrow, overwhelming agony, to the extent of leading to a medically documented phenomenon of ‘blood-sweating’ (in subjects going through intense stress, haemahidrosis), to the point of death. Unimaginable!
We have in Jesus Christ (Isaiah 53:3 NLT), a One, Who “was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” Not just a kind and sympathetic Christ, the only and true Christ, uniquely qualified to empathize with our deepest, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual struggles. The only Saviour with Scars!
In the powerful words of Edward Shilito;
“The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds, only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.”
Jesus Christ is indeed the only Saviour with scars that suffered for us and suffers with us. He alone can soothe our deepest wounds and restore our inner brokenness, reaching to the invisible recesses of body, heart, mind, and soul. We have in him, the great High Priest that intercedes along with the Holy Spirit on our behalf, with groans and moans that words cannot express (Rom 8:26).
In the fullness of time, forever, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” (Rev 21:4)
We have the Hope of Glory, Christ in us, to hold onto and who’s promised to never leave us, nor forsake us.