Why are you downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:11
This past weekend marked another year where World Mental Health was highlighted across the globe. It’s a day designed to encourage authorities to take action and create lasting change within mental health care. This year, however, World Mental Health Day comes against a backdrop of a global pandemic which seemed to be easing a few months ago – but now continues to linger with some saying that we are on the edge of a Second Wave – increasing the chances of another National lockdown here in the UK.
This year’s theme is ‘mental health for all’, which is especially prescient given the toll Covid-19 has had everyone’s lives – either directly or indirectly. “We know that the levels of anxiety, fear, isolation, social distancing and restrictions, uncertainty and emotional distress experienced have become widespread as the world struggles to bring the virus under control and to find solutions,” said Dr Ingrid Daniels, president of the World Federation for Mental Health.
Was Elijah Depressed?
At first blush, when it comes to mental health and the Bible – you may not immediately think that God’s Word says anything about it – let alone have any characters that experienced it themselves. However, the Word of God may be one of the first literary texts that talks about mental health. One only has to look at what the Book of Philippians Chapter 4 Verse 6 which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” And this is not to speak of the characters too – think about Elijah. Following his victory over the prophets of Baal he ran far away after being threatened by Jezebel.
The Bible says he sat down in the dessert and prayed, “I have had enough Lord, he said. Take my life, I am not better than my ancestors.” (1 Kings 19:4). And that’s just one person. Remember Job? He lost everything and was so downcast to the point he exclaimed, “I loathe my very life, therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.” (Job 10:1). We could go on and on about characters like David, Jonah, and Jeremiah who mentally had just had enough and wanted to give up their lives.
Put your hope in God
Therefore – even as this pandemic has not just taken lives, but also jobs, homes, businesses and social circles – the Bible is a reminder that we are not alone. So if you are feeling depressed, anxious, worried, and are struggling to come to terms with life in world of COVD-19 look to God just like David did when his soul was disturbed and “Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm (42:11)