The Importance of 'And'
'And' is such a commonly used word in the English language. Consequently we rarely give it a second thought.
When it comes to mental health, however, it is a small word with deep meaning.
As Christians, we make some pretty big claims about the hope we have in Jesus. We claim that we can be saved from the sin of our hearts. We claim that we can be resurrected to new life because Christ has earned this impossible victory for us. These are some pretty big reasons to be filled with hope, happiness and joy.
And yet we can still struggle with the pain of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. So we may hear the following words, or even utter them ourselves:
I know I am saved through Jesus but I am depressed.
What is the effect of using the language of 'but'? Well, the second part of the sentence becomes the dominant feature. The pain of depression is in effect more powerful in your mind than the salvation through Jesus. By using 'but', salvation has the impression of being negated.
Let's now change that sentence, so that 'but' is replaced by 'and':
I know I am saved through Jesus and I am depressed.
Does this small change make any difference? I would argue that it makes a huge difference! Suddenly salvation through Jesus and depression can coexist. Depression now no longer has the perceived power to take away the joy of salvation that is found in Christ!
How can we claim such seemingly opposite truths in the same sentence? Because we know that while we live in a world filled with pain, we can also experience the joy we find in Christ for the eternal reality that he has guaranteed us - one that will be free from crying and pain. And in his grace, there are still things we can take joy in this life while still experiencing depression. The beauty of this is that we don't have to make a choice between the grace of God and the effects of mental illness that we live with.
Thank God for this wonderful truth.