December 20, 2006


A friend has a problem with depression, and it seems inherited given his family history. He just lost his job and thus seems doubly vulnerable. And yet medicine isn't his priority - God's healing is. He goes to faith healing services in part because he doesn't want to have to ask his doctor for free samples of Zoloft. He's understandably tired of begging. It's easier to beg God for something than other human beings.

One can look at it in two ways. One is that it doesn't hurt to ask God for the favor. But one can also look at it as likely that God will expect us to use the help of other humans, ala the famous joke. Jean Caussade in Abandonment to Divine Providence wrote: "When...without good reason, we wish to dispense with external help, God tells us that such help is an instrument which must be neither casually used nor rejected, but employed sincerely and naturally to serve his designs."

He says his medicines are the least of his concerns (he also has high blood pressure) and that's what worries me. Isn't this a catch-22? When you're depressed you're not thinking clearly and if you're not thinking clearly you're not liable to take care of yourself or assign the right priorities? Wouldn't the anti-depression medicine help him during the process to find work? Easy for me to say it.

Judgments can be clouded through no fault of our own but, we can minimize the damage through our will (as the protagonist in the film A Beautiful Mind demonstrated) and with God's help. Mostly we tend to maximize the damage. When I read the Psalms I often have a hard time relating to the many lines that reference the slaying of enemies because aren't we are own worst enemy? I mentally substitute 'save me from myself' rather than 'save me from my enemies' because although I have unseen spiritual enemies, sins are almost definitionally self-inflicted.

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