some unedited rambling...
i am fully convinced that the best and only way to overcome depression is to think less of yourself...or rather think of yourself less. there is nothing so therapeutic as helping another human. not only do you realize that you have importance and purpose, but you simply do not have time to dwell on your own issues when you are focusing on helping others. this is why i think therapy does not work a lot of the time. the purpose of therapy is to analyze and evaluate your problems, the source of them and find ways to overcome your issues. however the longer you stare at an obstacle, the larger it appears. the key is to change not only your focus but your perspective. i am not a doctor, i am not clinically or professionally trained and, i admit, grossly underqualified to make such statements. but regardless of whether or not i have the merit to make such arguments, if they prove to be legitimate and helpful, then my merit matters little. that aside, these are not convictions that originate with me. my father once told me that there are ten steps to overcoming depression: step 1: do something for someone else, step 2: repeat step one 9 more times... he admits that this idea came from another as well. we can try and trace it and say oh that's from this philosopher, that author or this other very quotable person, but we should acknowledge the true source of this wisdom which is the same as the source of all wisdom. the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom (job 28:28; ps 111:10; pr 1:7; 9:10; 15:33 and these are just those with the exact phrase, there are hundreds more with the same sentiment).
without a doubt, healing comes from God. when asked why he spent so much time in the company of sinners, Jesus said "they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick" in this respect, Jesus' ministry is well summed up in luke 9:11: "but when the multitudes knew it, they followed him; and he received them and spoke tothem about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing." he mourns for our brokenness, our sickness. he longs to heal us. the very words of God through the prophet jeremiah: "i weep for the hurt of my people. i am stunned and silent, mute with grief. is there no medicine in gilead? is there no physician there? why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?" the king james version asks: "is there no balm in gilead; is there no physician there?" i am a poetic soul so the phrase 'balm in gilead' somehow moves me more than 'medicine', there's no good reason for that, i admit, the truth is the same and so is the answer; no, there is no balm in gilead to heal the hurt of God's people. there is no medicine in this world that can heal the brokenness of his creation.
Jesus' life is littered with his miracles and healing, the numbers differ but most agree that Jesus did close to 35 miracles as recorded in the gospels (give or take a few) of those 35 miracles, 19 were physical healings, 4 demon possessions were healed and 2 people were raised from the dead (not including Jesus himself!). taken wholly, these account for 71% (arguably) of Jesus' miracles. and these are only those recorded. we also cannot come close to accounting for the psychological and emotional healing that Jesus performed in his lifetime. lives were changed by his touch, people were given hope and love and grace. hebrews 4:15-16: "for we do not have a high priest [Jesus christ] who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin, let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Jesus offered healing of the body and revival of the soul. i cannot list all the passages of scripture that support this point. he steps into our life amidst the blood and the pain and the sin and he washes us cleans. he not only heals our broken bodies but regenerates our souls; promises us a body like his.
but this is just step one of the healing process. Jesus offers us hope and freedom through his sacrifice, but our continued healing comes from his commission to us. Jesus calls us to love one another with the kind of selfless love that he demonstrated through his own actions. this has multiple benefits: (in loose order) #1 God is honored by our humble obedience and deference; #2 his love is shared to others; #3 we grow and mature as we learn to obey and #4 we are uplifted as we are associated with Christ; #5 we gain perspective and insight into our own issues; #6 we have less time to worry about ourselves and our own problems. i can keep listing and i'm sure you can as well, but the bottom line is obedience (especially to christ), something that we generally consider frustrating or undesirable, is the quickest route to spiritual maturity and healing. when we are ordered to obey it stirs up our pride, makes us feel impotent and unimportant; when we choose to obey it becomes an act of love and service.
Jesus not only desires this from us, he expects it. often i want to ask him, 'do you not realize that i'm just learning here? i'm new at this give me a break!' with Jesus the standard is nothing less than all that he did. our struggle is with our dying flesh. but, as hebrews 4:15 said, he struggled as we did and sympathizes with our weakness, thus he offers the means to do that which he commands. in all manners we are equipped for his service. we are designed for an ever deepening relationship with him. healing is inevitable in such an environment, if we can just abide there! what is so difficult about dwelling in a peace of peace, healing, and love? i do not know but i do know that i am well acquainted with this difficulty.
God save us from ourselves! we cry out to you for healing, for forgiveness, and for your touch.