“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).
No one is certain what causes mental disorders. A few are connected to physical imbalances. Some may be tied to genetic makeup. Others grow (or become ingrown) from attitudes such as low self-esteem, perfectionism, or the failure to give or receive forgiveness. In all these areas, Christians are not exempt.
In times of crisis, we may find ourselves battling depression or struggling to retain a rational outlook. The problem is compounded when we become burdened by guilt because—someone may remind us—we aren’t living a constantly “victorious Christian life.”
We aren’t alone in these feelings. Many biblical characters fought the same mental battles that we do—with varying degrees of success. David at times felt submerged in problems. After Samuel anointed him the future king of Israel, King Saul tried to protect his crown by putting a price on David’s head. David fled to the cave of Adullam. When his relatives heard about it, they decided to join him. Then the cave became really crowded: “All those who were in distressed or in debt or discontented gathered about him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him” (1 Samuel 22:2 NIV).
With a price on his head, live-in relatives, and the responsibility of commanding four hundred distressed discontented debtors, David could have had a nervous breakdown. But instead of fleeing to the recesses of a muddled mind, he fled to the only Source of stability. He would write of this time, “I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed” (Psalm 57:1).
David cried out to God and discovered the secret of a sound mind. He may have been living in a dark cave, but he chose to let his mind live above it all: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps. 91:1). And later, when he eventually sat on the throne, David would look back and see that God was fulfilling His purposes for him—not only in spite of but through all his troubles.
Vicki Huffman is the author of two Christian non-fiction books and a Christian-based novel which are available in various forms on amazon.com. Parts of this post appeared in The Chosen Path, a 365-day devotional book (Elm Hill Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, 2005) for which Vicki was a contributor. To read the first chapter of her novel A Secret Hope at no cost, follow here.