“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”
As diagnoses of depression and cases of suicide escalate, the Church must equip people to understand what the Bible teaches about trials, hardships, suffering and sadness. An inadequate theology of suffering contributes to unrealistic expectations of the “good” life. This in turn sends one through endless cycles of expectation-disappointment and despair.
Along these lines, it’s equally important to help people distinguish sadness due to neurological challenges from normal sadness based in biological responses.
In “The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sadness Into Depressive Disorder,” by Alan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakelfield, the authors offer excellent insight for distinguishing “sadness due to internal dysfunction” from “sadness that is a biologically designed response to external events.”
Their chapters exploring the anatomy of normal sadness and the failure of social sciences to distinguish this kind of sadness from depressive disorder should be required reading for all medical and psychiatric professionals — as well as all counselors.
For helpful focus on the purpose and place of trials, hardships, suffering and sadness, see: