Browsing Dr. Dale Wisely's Blog

Jesus and us: Distressed, agitated, grieved.

Dec 9, 2019

He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. - Mark 14:33-35
Christians often have an easier time thinking about Jesus as God than as a human being. Our faith is that Jesus was both fully God and fully a human being. Not half-God, half-human. Not sometimes God and sometimes human. But 100% God and 100% human at all times. It's a great mystery. 
It's probably easier for us to think of Jesus as God. Perfect. SInless. Performing miracles. Knowing everything. Somehow above and beyond the rest of us. 
So, read the scripture again. It's up at the top. I'll wait.
Okay, thanks.
Depression, despair, sorrow, grief. No one is immune to these. No one. Not you, not me, not the Pope. Mental illness is not the story of "those people." It's the story of us. 
And Jesus. I'm not arguing that Jesus was depressed.  I'm not sure if "despair" is the right word either. But he suffered. Of course, we know he suffered, but we tend to think of his physical suffering on the cross. But scripture could not be clearer. At times he was distressed, agitated, grieved. He prayed for relief. He suffered in his mind, his heart, his spirit. 
At Prince of Peace, we have been putting out a good bit of information on depression. We had brochures about helping our friends and family who are depressed out in the gathering space this past weekend and they'll be there for a while. We've offered talks on depression. We'll keep doing that. We are mindful that we are in a national health crisis. Suicide rates are at the highest level they have been since 1942. But this has not been a steady climb over the decades. Suicide rates were stable from the mid-1940s until about 1980. Then they fell for years. They have been rising for the general population since 2000. Rates are up 33%. Youth suicide rates have been rising sharply in just the last 10 years. At present, it looks like teen suicide rates are not just rising, but the rate at which they are rising is accelerating. This is a national crisis. We are needless losing far too many people. It is likely that this year we will have lost 50,000 Americans to suicide.
During the holidays, it's a good time to think about all of this. Some of us will be with family and friends who suffer from depression, who are filled with sorrow.  Here are some resources.


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