John MacArthur and John Piper on their very different experiences of depression

John MacArthur and John Piper on their very different experiences of depression July 4, 2013

In the video below there is a very helpful segment beginning at 39:45 (click here to start it playing at that point, or use the slider below). The segment begins with MacArthur explaining that he has never really been depressed. Some Christians are a bit like MacArthur. To be honest, that can make it hard for them to empathize with the Piper’s of this world who goes on to describe how he had a period of his life where he was significantly depressed that lasted several years.  MacAthur’s incredulous “Years?!” demonstrates how very differently they are wired.

If you are like a MacArthur give thanks that your brain chemistry saves you from the anguish many others feel.  IF you are like a Piper give thanks firstly that even if it takes years your low mood will pass (and for many medication may speed that up). But also, as we said yesterday, give thanks that God wants to comfort you in the middle of your suffering so you can comfort others.

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  • Susan_G1

    The God of all comfort. You may not be able to feel it in the midst of depression, but you can trust Him. Once out of it, you understand exactly what that passage means, and how God uses suffering in your life to bless others.

  • stylib38

    Thank you for sharing that. So helpful, to one who has struggles deeply with depression/anxiety, yet loves the Lord, to see that this very godly man has struggled with depression and then to tell us that some people are just wired to never experience depression and therefore can’t understand it. It’s not just sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. Thank you again for the whole series you’ve done on mental illness and the believer

  • I don’t follow either MacArthur or Piper, but this caught my eye. I do have earlier familiarity with MacArthur, having seen him on a visit or two to Talbot Sem. while I was there and he was a recent grad; plus reading some of his early work, etc.

    As to the depression issue, good that you bring it up in the way you do. For years I was a therapist, mostly for Christians, and am afraid what I observed has not changed nearly enough: that both leaders and laity were ILL informed and prone toward guilt and ineffective methods for dealing with depression… making it generally way to spiritualized an issue.

    Things like the “Biblical counseling” movement (didn’t perhaps MacArthur embrace that many years ago?) certainly didn’t help, but merely increased the skepticism and distance Christians tended to put between them and “secular psychology.”…. And this links to deeper issues that aren’t for this thread. But the point is that certain core issues are part of the reason Christians in particular (and people in general) don’t understand depression, either if they suffer from it or only know of it from a distance.