Quite a few worship songs these days announce spiritual power to break strongholds with a particular focus on addictions, mental health and depression. Now there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact as someone who has suffered from depression I have appreciated heart felt songs that have spoke about God’s presence at the very point when the darkness doesn’t seem to lift.
However, I was wondering the other day -why is it that we have all these songs about depression and nothing that declares victory over gout or release from asthma?
Perhaps the songs reflect exactly where the songwriters were, their own heart cry during heavy days, just as Cowper penned “Where is the blessedness I once knew?” an expression of his own ongoing struggle with regular visits from the black dog.
At the same time, I am concerned that we could be seeing something here where mental health is seen as something spiritual, something that a prayer, a command and some Scripture can drive out. There is that old risk that depression is seen as a sign of defeat and perhaps evidence of sin.
I hope that we are careful with this. That we don’t identify some conditions as spiritual and others as physical. I hope that we don’t categorise illnesses in a way that stops asking for prayer for some as though they are trivial or that prevents us going and getting proper medical help from the GP for others.