Q&A: Medication and Depression

Medication and Depression

Question

Please help me in understanding what the Bible says about the body's mental and physical needs. Some people require medication for depression and other conditions, and some of these conditions last one's entire life. It also seems that these conditions may be genetic.

Answer

The Bible does not tell us many specifics about physical health, or about the intricate workings of our bodies and chemical systems. It does, however, tell us quite a few general things. First, ill health and chemical/hormonal causes of depression are the results of man's sin. They are part of the corruption of the world that will be eliminated when Christ restores the whole creation at his return (Rev. 21:1-4). This does not mean that individuals only suffer because God is punishing or disciplining them for their sin. Rather, it means that Adam's sin in the Fall (Gen. 3) negatively affects every person (Rom. 5:12-19). Because of his sin, we are a cursed race, and we suffer the affects of God's covenant curses. The good news is that in Christ we will be fully restored from the effects of the Fall, but not until Christ returns and we receive our new, flawless, resurrected bodies will our restoration and redemption be complete (Rom. 8:22-23).

In the meantime, believers are already heirs to the covenant blessings of perfect health and well-being. God is sometimes pleased to give us foretastes of the full inheritance that awaits us, but the time has not yet come for us to receive our inheritance in full. We must not demand, as did the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), that the Father give us our full inheritance now. It has been promised to us (Eph. 1:13-14), but it has not been promised that we may take possession of it whenever we wish. Still, our heavenly Father loves us, and cares for us. He is willing at times to heal us, and he is always willing to comfort us, either directly or through others.

For this reason, we must be dedicated to praying for healing and blessing. In many cases, it is true that we have not because we ask not. The Psalms are a great place for these kinds of meditations. Many of them are laments over physical health and depression, and these laments show us legitimate and God-honoring ways to complain to him about our problems, to ask him why he hasn't healed us, and to plead with him for rescue.

In other cases, however, God simply withholds the blessings of health and declines to tell us why. Paul gives us some insight into this kind of scenario in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. Sometimes it is to build us up spiritually (Rom. 5:3-5; Jam. 1:2-4). Sometimes it is to humble us (2 Cor. 12:7). Sometimes it is so that God may be glorified by healing us later (John 9:2-3). There are other reasons, too, but God does not tell us all of them. Rather, he tells us enough, and expects us to trust him for the rest - but even this is too hard for us to do unless he grants us the necessary faith (1 John 5:4).

The Bible does not restrict us to looking to its pages for solutions to problems of this nature. God provides help to us boththrough Scripture (special revelation) and through creation (general revelation). God's general revelation is completely legitimate and useful, and science and medicine make use of it at all times (though often without recognizing the source). Medicine and counseling, generally speaking, are totally legitimate means to try to manage these problems - as long as their methods don't go against scriptural teaching.

To all who suffer in these ways: Don't give up. God will never leave or forsake his children, no matter how bleak it may look. And no matter how much it hurts now, there is a day coming when God will wipe every tear from our eyes, and will give us new bodies without these terrible afflictions.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.