Mental Health and the Miracles of Jesus
September 16, 2023, 10:00 AM

Past Sins, Depression and Healing
To think that if anything bad happens in our life it has to do with our past, is not unusual or strange.  We even have a word for it in India - Karma: to get what you deserve.  There is also this tendency to look at the sufferings of others and associate it with their past.  In this particular miracle Jesus clarifies to his disciples that this man's blindness has nothing to do with the past.
This is an important reminder.  He reminds us not to always associate our suffering with past actions.  When it comes to mental health the tendency to lay blame on past actions is not unusual.  And by doing this we push those struggling with depression deeper into that dark hole of fear and confusion.  So much so that they begin to think that their depression is God's punishment.
The question that persists is if it is not God's punishment, what is it then?  Perhaps an invitation to refine and realign our life goals.  Our restlessness could be the result of our innate need to renew and reshape the meaning of our life.  Perhaps, it is the difficult and painful process of shedding our old skin for something new.  Paul talks about this in Colossians 3:8-11, it is the process of stripping off the old self to make way for a new self.  To give up on old ways of thinking and adopt new ones - to create new brain pathways.
The middle portion of the text emphasises this struggle.  We see the blind man undergoing the difficult process of coping with his new reality.  He begins to see that his healing is more than sight - he needs revelation.  It's not just coping with color and people's faces, but contending with his former identity as a blind man.  Just as our past haunts us, people around him remind him of his past, dragging him back into his darkness.  He prevails ultimately when Jesus reveals himself to his as the Messiah - his struggle eventually becomes the pathway for a new journey to begin.
Our everyday encounters with Christ help us see our circumstances in new light.  The more Christ reveals himself to us the more we begin to see that our life has meaning beyond what we or others may attach to it.  Every experience we have has scope for God's glory to be manifest through it.  This approach helps us see that the darkness we experience is, (a) not perpetual, (b) we are not alone, and (c) there is purpose.  So don't give up just yet - you are not alone - God's glory is being manifest in and through you.  Through the darkness you will see light.  And a new journey will begin for you.