Galatians 5:5 – But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. (NIV)
I was reading a newspaper report from Scotland one day recently, which revealed that the number of prescriptions for anti-depressants in the past year has reached an all-time high: 3.5 million in a population of 5 million. It seems to be a high number for a country the size of Scotland. The politicians and medical professionals are so concerned about these statistics that they are searching for the causes of what appears to be an epidemic amongst Scots.
Some people are suggesting it has to do with the lack of sunlight in winter; others are saying that modern-day stress has reached unbearable heights; and even others are expressing the idea that too high expectations and too little opportunities cause most Scots to be depressed. Some have even stated that it's because of a deep-rooted dour Calvinism, which has impaired Scottish spirits since the time of John Knox.
Now I am no psychotherapist or psychiatrist, but if people are really that depressed, then I believe they are suffering from a sickness in their souls. Surely, as well as good counselling and balanced medication, isn't this an opportunity for the Church to proclaim the good news and restore Christ's hope to the people? Is it just me, or is there a correlation between the increase of Western secularism and the emptiness Scots people are experiencing in their lives? It may be too simple to say that the Church has all the answers, but wouldn't a spiritual reawakening, a recommitment to Christ, and a refocusing on serving others for God's kingdom help overcome the need for most of these medications?
The New Testament Christians faced plenty of opposition, conflict, and persecution, but preachers like Paul wrote about hope which made the Church eager to serve Christ and await the blessing of the Holy Spirit. It seems to be that they had an endurance, perseverance, and fortitude that we have sadly forgotten.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, depression is a hard burden to bear, and many people in our society seem to be wrestling with it. Come among us, precious Lord, take us by the hand, and refresh our weary souls. In Your holy name, we eagerly await and pray. Amen.