When you're feeling really miserable, which of the following viewpoints do you find offers you the most comfort? 1. Your moods are governed by mysterious chemical and psychological factors largely beyond your control.
2. Your ignorance and sinfulness separate you from the Almighty. Repent!
3. Wow, life's really swell. What's yourm problem?
How about, "none of the above"?
These approaches share at least one failing: Each -- even number 3 -- surrenders to a certain amount of misery in our lives. Psychology usually accepts some depression as normal. Popular theology ultimately makes room for evil, whether as God's inscrutable "purpose" or man's "free will." And mere positive thinking can be the worst of all; those suffering the miseries of human life need a great deal more than somebody's cheery unconcern for their plight!
About four years ago I found myself more or less chronically depressed. At first, things were going along smoothly enough in my life. I was doing well in college, my writing was beginning to interest people, and I had an attractive girlfriend. Yet I grew increasingly unhappy. I had a vague sort of belief in a God; at least, in a force that occasionally provided me with practical intuitions that couldn't be explained away. But something seemed seriously lacking.
Then my situation worsened. My interest in school fell off. I could no longer find the energy or interest to write. My girlfriend, to whom I'd been scrupulously faithful, became involved with another man while I was out of town for a few days at Christmastime. While I tried to keep up a cheerful facade, privately I wept often and came to hate living.
In my extremity I started praying to this intuitive but formless sense of God as best I could. "Whatever You are," I prayed, "You must be the source of happiness and joy and good, or there's no point to anything. Maybe You don't even exist. But if You do, show me how to worship You and I promise I will; but You've got to show me how."
Shortly thereafter, a friend gave me a copy of the Christian Science textbook , Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm by Mary Baker Eddy. n1 In a very short time, this book changed my life completely. But it didn't do this by offering me just another philosophy or religion that demanded blind faith -- indeed, it rejected such an unthinking faith as illegitimate. As Mrs. Eddy puts it on the very first page of the Preface: "The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. . . . Ignorance of God is no longer the stepping-stone to faith." n2
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christion Science; n2 Science and Healthm , p. vii
I won't attempt to summarize here what I found in that book. But it demanded I investigate a radically new concept of myself as God's child or expression -- whole, spiritual, utterly satisfied. And even more, it offered me the opportunity and ability to prove the truth of this concept -- not only in changed emotions but in changed circumstances, in healing of every sort, including that of physical disease.
This article no more demands your faith than Science and Healthm does. But it does offer you a chance to investigate these teachings for yourself. And, whether you're ready to look into Christian Science for yourself or not, I must testify from my own experience that there is a practical, substantial answer to depression; one that begins to fulfill now, not in some afterlife, the Bible's promise: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." n3
n3 Revelation 21:4.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. . . . thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord : and my prayer came in unto thee. Jonah 2:2, 6, 7