Today’s song is I Am The God That Healeth Thee by Don Moen, based on Exodus 15:26.
In a blog post earlier this year, Chuck Crisco explores Love, Demons, and Mental Illness, a great article which contains a fascinating quote:
When we read in Acts 8:7 of unclean spirits crying out, the Eastern (Aramaic) text reads: “Many who were mentally afflicted cried out”. This is because, according to George Lamsa, “”Unclean spirits” is an Aramaic term used to describe lunatics” (3). It should be noted that Lamsa was a native Aramaic speaker with a fine understanding of Aramaic terms. He grew up in a remote part of Kurdistan which had maintained the Aramaic language almost unchanged since the time of Jesus. It’s significant that Lamsa’s extensive writings indicate that he failed to see in the teachings of Jesus and Paul any support for the popular conception of the devil and demons- he insisted that the Semitic and Aramaic terms used by them have been misunderstood by Western readers and misused in order to lend support for their conceptions of a personal devil and demons.
Chuck goes on to explain that any time there is a ‘demon’ mentioned in Scripture, it’s actually mental illness at fault.
Now, whether demons exist or not, this gave me hope for people with mental illness. In Acts 10:38 we hear of “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
Mental illness can feel like oppression from the devil. I know this very well, having gone through various Charismatic churches where pastors insisted I had demons. The problem was, they couldn’t seem to get rid of the demons.
There were a few things finally got me out of the overwhelming mental health issues I was facing. I went through a spell of paralyzing depression for about half a year back in the mid-2000s, and the word I kept hearing deep in my heart was ‘caffeine’. I ignored that still small voice for the longest time until I finally got sick of hurting, after which I gave up caffeine for several months and the overwhelming depression cleared up.
Another thing that helped: I got a partial healing through a revival that went through the church I was going to at the time. I spent time in the presence of the Lord and eventually I didn’t want to commit suicide any more. I started feeling the joy of the Lord and the presence of God, and started feeling more peaceful in general.
Several years later, after many years of needless hurting, I finally got medical treatment for anxiety and depression, and that has stabilized me to where I can function normally on a daily basis.
As of late, my faith has been stirred up a bit, to the point where I’ve started believing: maybe this isn’t all God can do. Maybe he can fix my body chemistry so I don’t need medication for this stuff. I’ll still keep taking my medication, don’t worry! But perhaps there is more for me in this life, a testimony just waiting to be told. I’ll keep you posted.