Monday, December 10, 2007

Jesus is Enough (But Take the Prozac If You Need It)

But it must really be Jesus, not some invoking of the idea of Jesus, some platitude involving Jesus' name, some hollow encouragement via cheap cliche.

What am I talking about?

Brant Hansen offers a vulnerable, provocative post -- Is Jesus Enough? -- covering his experiences with depression and anxiety and the relief he has received through medication. Read it; it's important.
He concludes:
He's my "All in All", and "all I want", and "all I need", and "everything I ever wanted", and in case I should forget, I sing the words frequently. Jesus is all I need.

Except, apparently, for these little pills.

The iMonk is one of the few people talking about stuff like this.

My good friend Bill posts, asking in part:
The question the brother asks is "Is Jesus enough?" The comments thread has been full of grace, and that's so refreshing. But it got me wondering. Is "Jesus is enough" a Biblical thought?

Wait, don't go away. Let me explain. I mean, of course we know that Christ is our all-sufficient Savior. But have you ever known anyone who truly needed nothing else but Jesus? In other words, no food, water, clothing, shelter, medicine, etc.

I'm not trying to be hyperbolic here. But when we say "Jesus is enough", what do we mean? Do we mean that we currently need nothing else? If you say that, do you live that way? Is it wrong to have other needs?

Is Jesus enough?

Short answer: Yes.

One question I'd ask those who'd suggest those on medication for depression/anxiety/etc should ditch the pills and just "trust Jesus" is if they've ever been to the doctor for anything, taken medicine for anything. Do they wear glasses or contact lenses?
Why? Isn't Jesus enough?
(Heck, do they drive a car? Why doesn't Jesus beam them to work?)

I'm being silly, but I really am not trying to be reductive.

The problem with "Jesus should be enough" in response to "Should Christians take such medication?" is that the Jesus in view in the assertion is disembodied. He is an idea, a concept.

I don't think Christians can say with any integrity "Jesus is enough" without attempting to do what Jesus did to "be Jesus" for people, which frequently included meeting their physical and emotional needs.

The Gospel truth of "Jesus is enough" doesn't have some vague, ethereal, un-incarnated spiritual meaning.

That we have medicine to help us heal physically and psychologically is a gift from Jesus, just as salvation from sins is a gift from Jesus.

Of course, if I had to take one over the other, I should take pain now and heaven later, but that's theoretical, and thankfully I don't often have to choose one or the other.

And it certainly isn't the gospel of Jesus to heap guilt on people who need medical help to be healthy people.

My take. Your mileage may vary.


Chanda Canup said...

Well, aren't you a brave little lad? Good one; I think I'll link ya.

Phil Walker said...

1 Tim. 6:8, and yet Luke 12:23.

J. Clark said...

A good question we should ask then is what is the cause of the malady? Is it sin, destructive habits or is it chemical-physical? If it is a sin problem then "Jesus is enough" because that is just what he is "enough" for. If it is chemical-physical then we will have to go to medicine. The key is the diagnosis and it is tricky and should be done with humility and caution.

Amber Lee said...

I deal with depression and anxiety - I'm pretty sure no one wants me off my pills :)
But it's a good question to ask. I work with a woman who's father went to a school where going to the doctor was not counted as an excused absence. You were expected to have faith that God would heal you.