This month I’d like to continue with book recommendations that have been impactful in my life. These recommendations concern the issue of Anxiety and Depression. Stress is not foreign to the people of God. The effects and impact of hectic lives in a fallen world can leave us prone to suffering physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Thankfully, the Lord is not silent on these unsettling responses and He equips us in His Word with truth to combat them with. It is through God’s Word (Matt. 6:25; Phil. 4:6) and godly examples (i.e., Elijah, David, and Paul) that we are given sufficient help to know what our Lord desires for us to do with anxiety and depression, how we are to battle it for the sake of obedience, the ways that God may use this kind of suffering in our lives, and what truth is ours to stand upon in these seasons. There are godly writers who have sought to point to these passages and unpack them for the people of God. The struggle of Anxiety and Depression are a great and fearful battle but there is significant help for the believer from the Lord, in His Word and from His ministers. These works have been a tremendous help to me in my own struggles and I recommend them to anyone who is in their own fight or knows someone who is:
“The Cure for Melancholy” – Richard Baxter
Richard Baxter was a Puritan Pastor from the 1600s who faced his own battle with melancholy (the Puritan word for “spiritual darkness” and “depression”). It was from his own struggle and working with many others that he put together this helpful little book jam-packed with spiritual truth for us to look to and find comfort in our struggles. After Paul gives the command to “be anxious for nothing” in Phil. 4:6, he then follows that with the instruction in vs. 8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely…if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” Baxter offers just such things for our minds to dwell upon in this book.
“Spiritual Depression” – D. Martyn Lloyd Jones
D. Martyn Lloyd Jones was originally a medical doctor, who was saved, and then called out of practicing medicine to pastoring. As he worked with individuals through physical issues, he could always see that there were deeper spiritual issues at work that only the Gospel and God’s Word could address and heal. This book is a stern challenge to those in depression to remember what is ours in Christ and what is our reason for joy in Him. So often, we can lose sight of this in Anxiety and Depression. We can become inward focused when our eyes must be fixed on Christ and what is true. Although this book may come across in a confrontational manner, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones cares deeply for those dealing with this struggle and couples that concern with comforting words of truth for their healing.
“Genius, Grief, and Grace” – Gaius Davies
This is one of my all-time favorite books. The author is a Christian doctor who looks at the mental and emotional suffering of different men and women throughout Christian history but in doing that also points to the sustaining work of God’s grace strengthening them and using their struggle for their good and His glory. If you are in the midst of a battle with anxiety or depression, this book is a wonderful reminder that you are not alone, that God is greater than your struggle, and that He is able to redeem it to do remarkable work in and through you for the sake of His Great Name. Let your anxiety and depression be what drives you to the Lord and His Word.
Looking To Rest On Christ And His Truth, Pastor Rudy