Monday, February 09, 2009

MENTAL HEALTH AND THE CLIMATE

The article says, "Climate change takes a mental toll" because a 17-yr-old is refusing to drink water due to worries over droughts and climate change. The doctors who were involved wrote it up as the first case of "climate change delusion".1 The same article in the online version of the Boston Globe says this is not the only case of someone's mental health being affected by worry.

Does the topic of mental health lend itself to a Biblical discussion? I think so. Do we trust that God is in control and will have some say in these matters? The Apostle wrote to the Philippians, saying,
"6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." - Phil. 4:6-9
God is clearly able to help and give relief to those who are anxious. We may not be able to control all situations in our life, but we can decide whether it will dominate our thought. It doesn't matter if we fully understand the issue except to point out that the Scriptures tell us not to worry. Obsessing over troubles is unhealthy and the opposite of faithful prayer. Instead Believers ought to engage in the activity of prayer, where we count our blessings and bring our needs to the Lord. My experience has been that often my friends who have become overburdened with worry have not given God a chance to help. If asked, they often admit that they have not been praying and thinking on the things that are good.

Jesus addressed the topic in the Sermon on the Mount by asking what does a person add to his life by worrying? He says to stop worrying about food, clothing, and shelter. Instead, seek after the Kingdom of God and seek Righteousness. Everything else is secondary and will take care of itself.

I am not mental health counselor - and don't pretend to be. But I am a Christian who knows a little bit about God's Word. I believe that much mental suffering, even when it concerns the climate, could be alleviated if we would only stop and trust in the Lord.
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1. "Mental health takes a mental toll"

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