The Lord’s people have always experienced dark providences in their lives and all Believers’ will continue to be subjected to their ‘valley’ experiences. Apart from certain physiological conditions, neurological disease or damage to the brain, most emotional/behavioural problems experienced by Christian’s are caused by reaction to adverse circumstances within their lives; this may result in them experiencing stress, anxiety or deep melancholy. Painful as it may be, Christians must be prepared to consider if their adverse circumstances have been sent as chastisement from the Lord due to a lack of conformity to his Word!
When a Christian’s emotional problems are caused by unfavourable circumstances, a solution cannot be found in the ‘cures’ offered by the God-denying psychological therapies adopted by the world and the so called ‘Christian’ Counselling Movement. This is because the problems arising from life’s difficulties mainly involve our thoughts, emotions and behaviour, all of which are sourced in the soul and the Lord alone can alleviate problems within this area of our created being (although ultimately the Lord alone has control over all aspects of our well being, including our physical health). It is interesting to note that Freud and many other psychologists refer to psychology as the study of the soul of man!
The Christian can never be immune from life’s difficulties; indeed it is guaranteed that “In theworld ye shall have tribulation... John 16:33.How frequently this verse is quoted yet the end of this verse is often omitted; “...but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Herein dwells the secret for a victorious Christian life that does not fear or falter when faced with the difficulties of life, but rather glories in infirmities“and counts it all joy when they fall into divers temptations!” James 1:2 It is in Jesus Christ’s overcoming alone that we are enabled to be victorious. In the Lord’s great High Priestly prayer (John 17) He prays for his people, not that they should be taken out of this world with all of its trials and tribulations, but that they should be kept in the world. He has prayed for us and continues to pray for us but we have a responsibility to avail of the means of Grace that He has provided to strengthen us in the day of adversity; “...He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness”. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
The author has on several occasions experienced dark trials that resulted in stress and anxiety of soul. In response to one of these experiences she foolishly accessed counselling services; thereby she became utterly convinced that psychological counselling could not offer any solutions for the downcast soul that is in Christ. During these difficult times she was brought to realise that the Lord did not want her to depend upon the arm of flesh or muster up the strength to cope with her difficulties. However, He did expect her to avail of His power and it was entirely through His grace and mercy that she was enabled to survive the storms intact!
Physical functionality would be greatly hampered without regular intake of food and water and likewise the author found that sitting often at the Lord’s feet to partake of the Bread of Life and to drink from the Fountain of Living Waters during her time of frailty and weakness was necessary to enable her to receive the Lord’s gracious provision and sustenance for her soul.
One trial resulted in the author being laid aside for many weeks. During this time she gained much needed physical rest and more importantly spiritual strength, obtained primarily through her personal daily devotions. During these times of devotion the Lord revealed Himself through His Word and provided her with many promises to encourage, strengthen and guide her in a completely new direction on her life’s journey.
During times of melancholy and anxiety there is often a tendency to avoid contact with others. However, the author found attendance at the Lord’s house to be of great benefit as it enabled her to derive further spiritual nourishment from the ministry of God’s Word, the times of prayer, the Lord’s Supper and fellowship with other Believers.
Modern busy lifestyles do not easily afford us the time to be employed in spiritual exercises. The writer found that the world, the devil and by far her greatest enemy, the flesh, all collaborated to hinder her from taking the time required to partake of God’s appointed means whereby He dispenses grace unto His children; and it does take time!
Another problem becoming more evident in the latter days of this age is that many churches have departed from the Faith once delivered unto the saints and consequently many professing Christian pastors and members do not have a love for God or regard for His Word. Combined with this there is a great deal of backsliding, carnality and indifference within many true Churches. As a consequence there is an increasing tendency to resort to the flesh and humanistic counselling methods in an attempt to find resolutions to difficult emotional problems arising in the lives of the churches member’s, when what is needed is men and women filled with the Spirit of Wisdom to enable them to love and support needy souls and counsel them aright from God’s Word!
With the benefit of hindsight, the author can now bless the Lord for providentially permitting her to undergo days of trial during which she was laid aside to be taught that His grace is sufficient to meet the needs of each and every one of His children, regardless of the magnitude or severity of their adverse circumstances. Personal experience has also helped the author not to fear difficult days of trial, being fully persuaded that the Lord only places his children in the furnace of affliction that they might learn more of Him, become more utterly dependent upon Him and that their faith might be tried for His praise, honour and glory! “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried in fire, might be found unto the praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:7
The editors of B.A.N.A.S.H. trust that this article will be a means of blessing and encouragement to Believers who may be experiencing deep melancholy or anxiety of soul and may it persuade them to seek diligently for help from the One who alone can sustain them and raise them out of their darkness and despair.
“According as His divine power hath given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:3-4