St. Augustine, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon. What do they have in common? They are all titans in Christian history? Yes. They all agreed on the sovereignty of God in salivation? Yes. They all have had lasting influence on the doctrines and practices of the Christian faith? Yes. They all have books still in print? Yes. But there are two other things that they share in common. Each of these men were big on grace and mercy and compassion and each of these men suffered from deep depression.
Oftentimes our weaknesses and our strengths are the one and the same, each being one side of a double-edged sword. When swung in a positive direction you get deep insight into the human heart—its pains, hurts, sorrows, and needs that drive you to identify with the suffering of others in meekness and humility, to respond to them with mercy and compassion, and to tell them about the grace, mercy, and love of God in Jesus Christ. When swung in negative direction the same characteristics drive us introspectively into ourselves and lead us into depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.
This has been at the center of my thoughts about Anna. She is so naturally empathetic, compassionate, helpful, and kind. But the very same things about her that produce these good things, also make her prone to anxiety and depression. As we work to help her through this, it is important to me that we do not break her spirit in the process.
I am confident that such will be the outcome of this. She continues to do well, has a great spirit, and has been very brave. Today, my parents are going to see her. I will have to be content with a phone call tonight. But I will see her tomorrow. The support, prayer, and encouragement we have received has been life-giving. My family, our church, and our world need more people with her gifts.