The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.Psalm 28:7
Many people have propagated the idea that psychological problems are due to a “lack of God” or that a Christian should not seek help from psychologists/psychiatrists. Due to this propagated lie, many are slowly dying. A disease that begins in the mind ends up compromising the whole body and, consequently, consuming all the desires and aspirations of someone’s life. It can even lead to premature death.
Sickness of the mind prevails everywhere. Nine tenths of the diseases from which men suffer have their foundation here. […] The brain is the organ and instrument of the mind, and controls the whole body. In order for the other parts of the system to be healthy, the brain must be healthy.Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, p. 59-60
Finding the right professional
After observing the difficulty some people in my church have faced when they needed to seek professional help, I realized that it is extremely important to properly consider the professional in question. It may be safer for a Christian to seek help from a Christian professional, because, unfortunately, many unethically suggest a compromise of our principles and beliefs. Such suggestions sometimes cause great frustration for the patient, making treatment even more difficult. In all areas of health, it’s necessary to take into account non-negotiable issues on the part of the patient, or at least to be cautious and wise to work around certain situations.
Let me be clear, seeking help when you are not well is extremely necessary. Remember that God empowers men for this healing mission. Beware of extremes; we need to always have balance.
The relation that exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes. The condition of the mind affects the health to a far greater degree than many realize. Many of the diseases from which men suffer are the result of mental depression. Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life forces and to invite decay and death.The Ministry of Healing, p. 241
The Role of Faith
But we’ve already addressed the importance of conventional treatments in other articles. In this one, we will talk about the power of faith in recovery and how the human, working in harmony with the Divine, can obtain unimaginable results even exceeding the expectations of modern medicine. Faith creates hope because it is the certainty that we will receive the things that we hope for and the proof that there are things that we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1).
Faith and its relationship to health/quality of life have been the subject of many studies seeking to clarify how these two sciences can go hand in hand in a harmonious and balanced way. Of course, there are people who go to extremes and stop taking their medication because they believe that “faith” alone can heal, or others who perform the prescribed treatment but don’t have faith, hope, or the will to live. But when the two go together, the results can be surprising.
“A study done with over seven-thousand people in Alameda County, California, showed that those who engaged in religious activities, prayed, or believed in a greater meaning in life were less stressed, had lower blood pressure, and recovered with fewer complications post-op. In addition, the study also suggested that spirituality is linked to lower rates of suicide, lower consumption of alcohol, fewer divorces, and increased marital satisfaction.”¹
Science tries to prove what many people live in practice. What would you do if, when seeking professional help, you heard the following phrase: you are either going to be hospitalized or end up in a coffin? Which of these two options would you choose? I invite you to read part of Alessandra’s story and how God opened a new door by giving her a third option, exactly what was missing for her complete recovery.
“Around 2014/2015 I went through a very difficult time due to some personal issues in my life.
I felt sad, unmotivated. I didn’t go out. I didn’t feel like spending time with my parents. I didn’t read, and I didn’t even study—even though that was something I had always enjoyed. I felt alone, unhappy with myself. I saw no meaning in my existence. I looked at my life and thought: why live this way?
I thought I found a way to be happier with myself through weight-loss. I started losing weight to improve my health because I was overweight. However, it soon became a compulsion, an addiction, to the point that I went ten days without eating and even drinking because I thought I could lose weight faster and faster.
Depression was a trigger for anorexia. I was looking for something in anorexia that would make me feel better, however it was the other way around. A series of other health problems appeared. My parents struggled daily to seek medical, psychiatric help, and even help from friends. I got to the point where I looked at myself in the mirror and felt good once I could see my ribs.
One day I fell very ill and then, finally, I was diagnosed with anorexia. The doctors then began to suspect a possible degree of leukemia. I went to many psychologists, psychiatrists, and one of them even said to me: you are either going to be hospitalized or end up in a coffin.
I was shocked! That statement weighed heavily on my mind, and I thought: I need to change. I didn’t think about me, but about my parents, because seeing them suffering because of something that depended on my willpower to change hurt me deeply.
It was then that I was visited by some nurse friends who worked at the Oásis Paranaense clinic. They told me about a 10-day treatment done at the clinic for mental wellbeing, and most importantly, spiritual wellbeing. There, I met people who spoke to me about God and invited me to visit the church, saying that it would be good for me to go and that I would certainly experience a change.
I began attending church alone (without my parents) and I felt attracted. Knowing God had the greatest impact on my recovery. Of course, the desire for healing has to come from within ourselves, but when God participates in the process, things work differently. The church was what boosted me, a reason to change for good. We had gone to several doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and nothing would solve my problems, even when I tried. But knowing God made me want to change and be what I am today. I was finally able to understand that even that period of sadness had a purpose. It strengthened me.
I hope my testimony will help others. I believe that everything we experience here in this life serves to teach us things so that we can strengthen other people and be an instrument in the hands of God. I always want to be an instrument in His hands, to be able to help other people, because that also makes me feel good. Only when we go through something ourselves can we understand the situation others are facing.
God was immeasurable! What was impossible in the eyes of men was possible for Him. I am a new person, I was reborn, thanks to what God did and does in my life every day. And that is why, before ever petitioning, I give thanks.
Alessandra Azevedo, Curitiba, Brazil.
I learned about Alessandra’s story through one of the meetings by @mcp_cristo, and I was delighted by her testimony. It it’s wonderful how God worked in her life and how her experience today serves to positively influence other lives. Her testimony is proof of what is recorded in Luke 18:27: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” When everything seems lost, call Jesus.
¹ Colloquium Humanarum, vol. 12, n. Especial, 2015, p. 10-16. ISSN: 1809-8207. DOI: 10.5747/ch.2015.v12.nesp.000592