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Mental Health Today: Was King Solomon Depressive?

I read Ecclesiastes with some familiarity

It’s a book I’ve read often, and Chapter 3: A Time for Every Season is popular with many people. But Chapter 2 which precedes it is what I dwell on today.

I ask myself, was Solomon depressed when he wrote it? He must have been. To have all the wisdom and wealth in the world, and to start a book with,

“The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.” (Ecc Chapter 1:1-2 NIV)

and to come to this stark conclusion, I think he must have been at a low point in his grand life when he wrote Ecclesiastes.

Solomon’s focus in Chapter 2 is on the futility of effort, as legacy does not hold any guarantees of sustaining the result of one’s effort; to enjoy one’s labour is worthwhile, but with no forward expectations.

“I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish?” (Ecc 2:18-19a NIV)

Solomon has strayed rather than prayed; if he had prayed to GOD, he would know who would follow after him, or be at peace with whatever GOD would bring.

“Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.” (Ecc 2:24 NKJV)

He has not lost faith in GOD, but he has lost relationship. He speaks not of the spirit, but of the soul.* This, I think, is the key to his depression.

He is alone, ruminating in his mind, rather than searching GOD and His spirit. Truly, he is wise and correct to say, ‘everything is meaningless’, for without GOD, without relationship to Him, Solomon is truly alone — with his wealth, his wives, his children, yet he is isolated and alone.

from Peter Paul Rubins’ The Judgment of Solomon

Today in our society, depression and lack of mental health is on the rise, particularly amongst the youth

Today, we live in a society where GOD has been removed from schools, from health care, from society in the main. The result? 

To Solomon, who had wealth, fame and power, came depression. His success became meaningless to him. Today, though higher education, prosperity and independence have become increasingly available to young adults, they have proven meaningless to the happiness of many. Just as Solomon became isolated from GOD, likewise today, our youth grow up without GOD. Our relatively prosperous society too, on the whole, suffers from a lack of the Joy of the LORD, who provides humanity with its true source of strength (Nehemiah 8:10) and purpose.

“To know GOD and to make Him known” was the key slogan behind my discipleship training course, provided through a YWAM-trained pastor when I was a young woman. How I wish (and pray), that more Believers and society on the whole, would discover this key to a truly fulfilling life.

“For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight;” (Ecc 2:26a NKJV

*Yes, it is true that in the Old Testament man did not receive the Spirit of GOD as we do through Jesus Christ. But David, Solomon’s father, often spoke of the Spirit. For example, Psalm 139:7 says, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?”

Note: Images from www.Lambsongs.co.nz and Peter Paul Rubins’ Judgment of Solomon, available at www.smk.dk

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Love: Let’s Not Take Love Lightly

How much does God Love? Let us live by the Law of Love. Let us learn and live in the width and length and depth and height of the Love of Jesus and Father God.

Lillies

Ready: Can we contemplate the extent of God’s love? And can we measure how that enables us to live in love too? Can we receive the Father’s love and allow it to build us, shape us, heal us and save us?

Set: God lavishes His love upon us. What does lavish mean? It means: to expend or bestow with profusion; to expend without necessity or use; to waste; to squander… profuse; liberal to a fault, wasteful… superabundant; superfluous. (The New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary of The English Language, Consolidated Book Publishers, Chicago, C (c) 1971)

Wasteful? I’ve never thought of the LORD GOD as wasteful, but there it is in black and white. He loves us so much that He wastes to excess His love toward us.

Knowing this, why do we suffer?

We suffer in order to grow. We suffer in order to learn. Sometimes we suffer chemical imbalances in our brains. We all suffer, from time to time.

Wholeness is not refraining from the experience of suffering. But wholeness is the absence of doubt, knowing His love and His truth abound in the universe and in my life, in your life.

Wholeness is knowing there is purpose in each moment of every day, and a purpose to our being here, and a purpose even in our suffering.

Wholeness is rejoicing even in our suffering. Wholeness is trusting God unconditionally. Wholeness may not be attainable this side of Heaven, but I’ll continue to reach for it, knowing God is the author and finisher of my faith and of my life.

3 Steps to living in the Father’s love:

1. Thank Him, even when you don’t feel thankful. The mind is fallible, the heart is not.

2. Praise Him. Praise Him some more. How you praise, where you praise is up to you. I encourage you to be authentic and free, sharing with Jesus your praise.

3. Receive blessing. Whatever follows from your thanksgiving and praise is from the LORD. Believe He loves and honours you. He only sees the beautiful person He has created. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

earthGo: With every breath, know He loves you and is the all-powerful. There is nothing He does not know and cannot do. There is nothing He has created that is not perfect. The Christian Life is a journey between self-discovery and the realization that we are made perfect in His Love.