While Revelation 21 specifically lists death, mourning, crying, and pain as fundamental grievances believers will face, there's a shocking lack of corporate preparation to meet with such sorrows. Removing the stigma of deeply painful sadness requires the local church’s unhurried commitment to making room for it on Sunday mornings and a desire to equip leaders in one-another care.
As parents, we can’t take the place of medical professionals, licensed counselors, or pastoral care. A child’s depressed feelings can indicate ordinary sadness or a more serious disorder, and we’ll typically need outside help to identify the nature of our child’s struggle. But parents do have something valuable to offer: love and encouragement.
It’s imperative to remember that there are specific wellsprings of consolation and healing that God has set in place for his people which cannot be received apart from discipleship. If we continue to promote the segregation of care for despondent persons in the church, we restrict access to the promised sustaining and transforming graces God specifically supplies in the midst of their pain and suffering (1 Peter 5:10, Psalm 119:50).
Depression is not something new. God’s people have grappled by faith with deep pain and darkness for generations. Yet, we have become so used to seeing despondency through world-colored glasses, that we are tempted to neglect one of the most helpful resources available to sufferers: Spirit-led, one-another care. Discipleship is not some optional flabby excess in the realm of treatment options. For the follower of Jesus, discipleship is a critical lifeline of sustaining grace meant to facilitate conformity to Christ for the glory of God and the perseverance of his saints.
Mental health issues can be complex in nature, and parents can run the risk of overlooking particular facets of treatment because of prejudices about underlying causes. But when we look to the Scriptures and see God serving the sorrowing with individualized, calculated affection, we see a multifaceted approach to managing mental anguish — one that acknowledges the dichotomy of man (as body and soul) and the necessity of the body of Christ.