One of England's finest preachers was C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892). Frequently during his
ministry he was plunged into severe depression, due in part to gout but also for other
reasons. In a biography of the "prince of preachers", Arnold Dallimore wrote,
"What he suffered in those times of darkness we may not know...even his desperate
calling on God brought no relief. 'There are dungeons', he said, 'beneath the castles of
Many years ago a young Midwestern lawyer suffered from such deep depression that his
friends thought it best to keep all knives and razors out of his reach. He questioned his
life's calling and the prudence of even attempting to follow it through. During this time
he wrote, "I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I
cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not." But somehow, from somewhere, Abraham
Lincoln received the encouragement he needed, and the achievements of his life thoroughly
vindicated his bout with discouragement.
Today in the Word, MBI, December, 1989, p. 20,
Swindoll, You and Your Problems Transformed by Thorns, p. 58.
In 1835 a man visited a doctor in Florence, Italy. He was filled with anxiety and
exhausted from lack of sleep. He couldn't eat, and he avoided his friends. The doctor
examined him and found that he was in prime physical condition. Concluding that his
patient needed to have a good time, the physician told him about a circus in town and its
star performer, a clown named Grimaldi. Night after night he had the people rolling in the
aisles. "You must go and see him," the doctor advised. "Grimaldi is the
world's funniest clown. He'll make you laugh and cure your sadness." "No,"
replied the despairing man, "he can't help me. you see, I am Grimaldi!"
STATISTICS AND STUFF
Half of Americans in a recent poll said they or their family members have suffered from
depression, 46% considered it a health problem, and 43% saw it as a "sign of personal
or emotional weakness," according to the National Mental Health Association. Other
topics measured included alcoholism (seen as a personal weakness by 58% and a health
problem by 34%) and obesity (38% deemed it a weakness, 48% a health problem). Where to go
for help? Three choices were allowed. 45% suggested a medical doctor, 60% a mental health
professional, but only 20% suggested a church, minister, rabbi, or priest, and just 14%
suggested a spouse, relative, or friend.
National and International Religion Report, Jan
Today's young women are more likely to become depressed than their mothers were and at
a younger age. Reasons: increased economic pressure to contribute to family
income...changing role in society...inability to meet their own expectations...a sense of
having lost control.
Dr. Gerald Klerwan, in Homemade, December. 1986.
Depression strikes about 10 million Americans within any six- month period. Human
therapists can now treat only a fraction of that number. But a study shows that by using
computers, more of these persons might be helped. In the American Journal of
researcher John Greist presented a study showing that depressed people treated by
computerized questions and answers improved just as much as those consulted under a human
Resource, Mar/Apr, 1990.