Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety, distress and depression were emotions experienced even by the Apostles and Christ Jesus.
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 Paul experienced emotional distress even to the point of death. This passage says they were burdened excessively, burdened beyond their strength, they despaired even of life. Verse 9 says, “…the sentence of death was within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.
That is where they set their hope. They connected with God, connected with Christ Jesus and connected with one another through excessive burden and even despair of life. They connected with the body of Christ - they did NOT withdraw or shrink back.
In 2 Corinthians 7:5-7 Paul goes on to say. Our flesh had no rest, we were afflicted on every side constant conflicts and fears were within them. In verse 6 Paul says, “But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us …” Paul also says they derived comfort from the longing, and mourning, and zeal from the brothers and sisters. So much so, it made him, “Rejoice even more.”
Jesus experienced emotional distress, even to the point of death. Hebrews 5:7-9 (NASB Strong's) Verse 7 says, “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears…” Have we ever been in so much pain that we cried aloud with tears as we connected with our Father? In verse 8 says, “He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.”
Matthew 26:36-39 Jesus says, He was, “…grieved and distressed.” In verse 38 He said, “My soul is deeply grieved, (very sad, exceedingly sorrowful) to the point of death…” We can make a strong case that as chaos, complexity, pain and suffering entered the lives of Paul and Christ they connected deeper with their companions, connected deeper with God the father,
and learned obedience as they faced the sufferings of this world and the trials and testing of the evil one.
Hebrews 12:1-3 tells us to lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us (chaos and complexity), and let us run with endurance the race, fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith (structure and responsibility), For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (obedience, accountability and truth).
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 to run in such a way that you may win, exercise self-control in all things, run in such a way, as not without aim, box in such a way, as not beating the air (structure and responsibility), finally, discipline your body and make it your slave, so that you will not be disqualified (obedience, accountability and truth).
The structure, responsibility, accountability and truth of God’s Word, when obediently put into practice, is an anecdote to anxiety. Even when we experience suffering we must continue to assimilate into His Body - and continue to connect deeply with those closest to us.
Remember, suffering should cause us to trust God and His Body rather than ourselves. In 2 Corinthians 1:9 Paul says, “We had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.
Our sufferings make it possible for us to comfort others in their afflictions. Paul hoped to comfort others in their afflictions just as God had comforted him. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
How does God comfort us in our affliction? He gives us training and discipline through His word, hope through Christ Jesus, directly and indirectly, His Spirit comes to our side and His Spirit comes to our aid, most certainly God comforts us in our affliction through the obedience of our brothers and sisters in Christ as they connect in our lives!
Proverbs 12:25-28 says, "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man's precious possession. In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.”