Christians Get Depressed Too by David P. Murray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
We’ve endured a difficult season in the life of our nation, our families, and our Church. Not surprisingly, then, some recent studies suggest that rates of depression have increased exponentially during the last year or so. Indeed, I myself have struggled with some form of depression for the last nineteen years, and found that during this season of life it has been exacerbated. It was with this in mind that I picked up David Murray’s little book Christians Get Depressed Too in hope of some wise council. And some wise council it is!
If you’ve ever wondered, “What’s the deal with that person? Why are they so glum and Eeyore-like? How can I understand them and interact with them?” Then this is a helpful starting place for you. Even if you have some years of experience dealing with depression or with a depressed friend or family member, this short book is helpful in shaping our views of depression in a compassionate and biblical way.
Murray treats the topic of depression with six C’s: crisis, complexity, condition, causes, cures, and caregivers.
I just want to examine his first point about how depression is a crisis. Murray points out that the Bible speaks to depression. While it does not use the term “depression”, the concept itself is clearly articulated in multiple passages, and numerous biblical characters appear to bear its symptoms (think Moses, Hannah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Job, Psalmists). A fellow pastor who has suffered from depression comments, “The Psalms treat depression more realistically than many of today’s popular books on Christianity and psychology.”
Not only is depression a biblical idea, depression is extremely common today. Murray cites current statistics which say that one in five people experience depression, and one in ten experience a panic attack at some stage in life. It also can be prevented or mitigated if it is understood and approached appropriately! If depression is identified, and its source is understood, we can help someone walk through it, or even help them learn methods that may alleviate it. To be a useful friend to the depressed person, we need to know what is actually helpful, and what sort of counsel is actually damaging. As one little workbook says, “Being a depressed Christian in a church full of people who do not understand depression is like a little taste of hell.” Instead, we can learn how to walk beside those in a dark trial like depression in a helpful way.
Aside from all of these reasons for reading the book, I want to end with the point that Murray makes in his first chapter, that depression is actually a talent to be invested for God. William Bridges argues similarly in his book A Lifting up for the Downcast, when he says, “Afflictions…are part of Christ’s purchase for you.” As we try to help others, or help ourselves, walk along and out of the road of depression, this little book by David Murray can be a helpful guide to us.
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