It is always a difficult time when someone you love passes from this earth. Depending on our relationship with the deceased, the pain we feel can be intolerable, haunting and long lasting. Sometimes the pain is so strong that we don’t know how we can go on. We lose our “joie de vivre” our energy, our focus, we may even be so devastated that wewish to join our loved one because our loss is so great.
As believers, our work on earth- our meaning of life, is to share the Gospel of Jesus with all those we encounter. This sharing takes different forms dependent on the depth of relationship we have with our acquaintances. No matter how long we have known someone, we should just exude the essence of love- the essence of Jesus. We should exhibit a personality that is pure, encouraging, loving and full all of the other qualities found in our longstanding AHG Creed. We should live in a way that makes others wonder what makes you different, what brings you this inner peace and consistent joy? As Steve Taylor of Newsboys said in one of his lyrics, “Shine, make ‘em wonder what you’ve got, make ‘em wish that they were not on the outside looking in.”
But the reality of exhibiting and living real joy can be tough. For many, too many, it is tougher than tough. Mental illness in all its various forms affects people from all social demographics, from all religious backgrounds and from all cultures. Mental illness, including depression, affects Christians. Claiming that “true” Christians do not and should not suffer from depression places additional pain and guilt on suffering believers.
I believe it is important as believers whose work on earth is to share Jesus, that we understand what depression is and what it is not. I pray that through the recent sudden death of Robin Williams, a comedian that made all of us smile despite his pain, that perhaps we could wake up and commit to learn more about depression so that we can minister to the wounded.
Robin Williams’ death has shocked us all. He was just a man and men die every day. But the loss of America’s funny man, the funny man that transcended generations with his gifted comedic style, through an apparent suicide presents a disturbing reality. That reality is: So many of us are not who we seem to be and are living our lives behind masks that cover our hurt and our pain. This is true of more people than we think – more than just age 60+ actors with past addiction problems, but it is also true of many young women who are in our Troops , or their parents or their grandparents.
Consider reading David Murray’s Book “Christians Get Depressed Too” http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1601781008/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1601781008&linkCode=as2&tag=headhearthand-20
May the knowledge that we glean from understanding the hidden killer that is depression, be a tool in the Tool Box of Love that we use to share the love and true joy that only comes from knowing Him. Learn more, affirm the girls in your Troop, love your kids and hubby unconditionally, and keep all families who struggle with depression in your prayers. If you are struggling with this illness, please seek help - ignoring it is not a remedy.
I pray that Robin Williams’ wife and three kids, friends and extended family members are consoled by members of the Christian community who share the love and comfort of the Holy Spirit during their time of intense grief.
Until Next Time,