When I titled this week’s sermon, “Last Laugh,” I had no idea that Robin Williams would take his life in desperation later that same day. The connection didn’t occur to me until I was walking by the sermon board yesterday and wondered if some would think I was talking about the great comic and actor this Sunday.
As I considered this week’s passage and the point of the passage, Walking in faith means confronting difficulty with hope in God, I couldn’t help but consider the difference faith in Jesus and a genuine Christian community can make for those suffering from depression or any other illness. I am not saying, “Buck it up and have enough faith and you’ll be better.” That’s the false gospel and a lie. I’m saying, we live in a world that is fallen, depression may not be your fault or caused by any particular sin and the church, of all places, ought to be the place where you’re safe to let that hurt out and let the body minister to you. The church ought to be the one place that provides the love and care it would seek for anyone with any other type of illness. As Ann Voscamp said earlier this week, “There’s no guilt in mental illness because depression is a kind of cancer that attacks the mind. You don’t shame cancer, you treat cancer. You don’t treat those with hurting insides as less than. You get them the most treatment. There’s no stigma in saying you’re sick because there’s a wounded Healer who uses nails to buy freedom and crosses to resurrect hope and medicine to make miracles.”
As we’ll see in this week’s passage from Genesis, the intimacy of God and the infinity of God are two reasons we can confidently confront the difficulties of a fallen world with hope in God. We are not alone and we are not left on our own. Faith in Christ makes all the difference for sinners in a broken world.