Words of Comfort

Job 3:1–26

At last Job spoke, and he cursed the day of his birth. He said:

“Let the day of my birth be erased, and the night I was conceived.

Let that day be turned to darkness. Let it be lost even to God on high, and let no light shine on it. (Job 3:1–4)

In the early 1960s when a Christian suffered from a depression that resulted in Job’s kind of thinking and candid admission, you never said so publicly. You swallowed your sorrow. The first book I read on this subject, covering emotional turmoil and mental illness among Christians, was considered heresy by most of my evangelical friends.

The pervasive opinion then was simple: Christians didn’t have breakdowns. Furthermore, you certainly didn’t stay depressed! You know what term was used to describe those who struggled with deep depression in the early and mid-sixties? “Nervous.” “He’s got a nervous problem.” Or simply, “She’s nervous.” And if you ever, God help you, had to be hospitalized due to your “nervous” disorder, there just wasn’t a Christian word for it. I repeat, you didn’t tell a soul. Shame upon shame that you didn’t trust the Lord through your struggle and find Him faithful to help you “get over” your depression.

Shame-based counsel never sounds right because it isn’t right! And I didn’t know enough to know that Job 3 was in the book back then. Had I known, I would have said, “Hey, what about Job?”

I want to write to you who are reading these lines who may be in the pit, struggling to find your way back. It’s possible that things have gotten so dark that you need a competent Christian psychologist (or psychiatrist) to help you find your way. The most intelligent thing you can do is locate one and go. In fact, go as long as you need to go. Make sure that the counselor really does know the Lord Jesus and is truly competent, able to provide the direction you need so you can work your way through your maze of misery. And, I would add, “God bless you for every hour you spend finding your way out of the hole that you have been in. There is hope. Our faithful God will see you through.”

Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles Swindoll. Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll. Used by permission of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. www.harpercollinschristian.com

Posted in Encouragement & Healing, Failure and tagged .

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.