Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Biblical love and help for those who deal with depression.

     I found Good Mood, Bad Mood, to be a revolutionary, thought provoking and much needed book.
    When you love someone who is depressed, or are depressed yourself, your focus is on getting through grind of the day ahead of you, not healing. You settle into head above water mode, trying to keep from sinking- not moving toward shore.
One doctor says medication is your answer for every person, another says you need to "get at the root" of the problem.
One says what you feel is imaginary, another says it is your identity.
      I was thrilled to see Dr. Hodges' belief that hope and help could be found in the person of Jesus for those who are depressed.
      I was startled to see that many people who are grieving or mourning are diagnosed with depression, and then possibly given the wrong medication, when what they need is compassionate help with heavy sorrow.

    What is depression? 
     Is it a disease, with a cause within the body?
     Sometimes, certainly, there is a physical cause. 
     Is medication the way to treat it, or is there a deeper root that medication can't always touch? 
    Are some people being labeled "depressed" being hurt by this diagnosis, and is part of the hurt    the baggage that comes with the label? 
    Why are there so many definitions for what depressed is? 
    What about bipolar? 
     Far too many patients today feel like the woman in the Gospel of Luke, with the issue of blood that went on for twelve long years. Luke, being a doctor, was troubled that no one had been able to help her case. Medicine had no answers for her problem, though many doctors had tried, Luke tells us. 
     Mark says frankly that she had spent all she had on physicians and had been harmed rather than helped. Jesus, her Creator, was the only One who could help her, and a single touch of her hand to His robe healed her.   
    "Thankfully," writes Dr. Hodges, "Medicine has made incredible advances since that woman was healed by Jesus. But we still face the same problems that doctors did in Luke's day. We encounter diseases that we struggle to accurately diagnose and effectively treat. And patients endure much. The purpose of this book is to look at another area of medicine in which patients face the kind of problems this woman faced. The diagnosis and treatment of the disease do not result in a rapid and complete cure. The cost of treatment and the lost wages are a significant burden to those affected. Yet in a significant number of cases, the real solution may be found in a meaningful encounter with the Great Physician." 

     This book works through both science and Scripture. 
The science of how depression and bipolar have been diagnosed through the years shines light on how to help depressed people today, and Scripture is rich with the stories of sorrowed men and women. These stories of their heavy sorrow and their cries of sadness help us as well with our sadness. God tells us our sadness is not imaginary, and it is not our identity either.
And over all their stories is something that helps us even more, that never changes for them or for us- the love of the God of all Comfort who promised to carry His children.

    Scripture reminds us that since Eden, brokenness, sadness, mourning, pain disease and death have been marring our world. Depression has come upon the greatest saints in the Old Testament and the New. What is sadness for? Why does God allow us mourn when we were not created for a fallen world? 
Is sorrow ever good, Biologically or spiritually? 

    In Scripture we read the life of Hannah, who knew the loss of her dream for a long time and her painful longing for children. Hannah would not eat, would not rest, and prayed weeping before the LORD. 

    We read of Martha and Mary, who lost Lazarus to death of a sudden illness. Jesus responded to them in their sorrow by weeping with them. There is a time to mourn, and mourning is hardly ever a clean, mess-less, tidy process. How can we mourn with those who mourn and assure them that joy will come in the morning, though weeping may endure for the long night? 

    And Paul, the man who wrestled with a thorn in the flesh that tormented him, emotionally and physically. His thorn was never taken away.
 Is it possible that some people will wrestle with sadness as their thorn, and that no medicine will help them, but God's Grace will be more than sufficient? 
 How can we support and uphold them, the way we do all our brethren, without labeling them as "diseased?"

    Good Mood Bad Mood contains stories made up from Dr. Hodges' years of helping patients. As I read the chapters devoted to telling Eve's story, I praised God for raising up doctors like Dr. Hodges, who compassionately counsel their patients from the open book of Scripture and the common sense understanding of the body God made. Dr. Hodges is a doctor who is familiar with the Scriptures and his patient will be able to help them see what area they need restoration in. I was very glad to read the account of Eve and how she was guided back into Life out of the spiritual wasteland of alcohol abuse amidst deep sadness. I know so many people who need a doctor like this, who can point them to Our LORD. 
 I am so glad that healing can be part of our vocabulary when it comes to depression, not just getting through the day. 

I was blessed to receive this book from the author and Cross Focused Reviews. 


  1. Great review! Thanks for contributing to the blog tour.

    Shaun Tabatt
    Cross Focused Reviews

  2. Thank you for reading the book and for your kind review. I enjoyed writing it and I hope it will be a helpful tool for those who struggle with sadness and those who want to help.
    Charles Hodges MD