On Mental Health and Divine Healing
Pastor Matt Archer preached a phenomenal message Sunday on Divine Healing, which is one of our Articles of Faith in the Church of the Nazarene. If you haven’t caught his sermon yet, I highly recommend you find it on Facebook or our podcast channel since what you are reading is my extension of the fantastic scripture and insight he shared. As he was preaching on the concept of divine medical healing, I quickly realized these foundational beliefs also apply to healing and mental health.
In Pastor Matt’s sermon, he clearly outlined the four ways God heals people. The first is that our bodies heal themselves. This includes our brains! In fact, many counselors will state our job is to support your body’s naturally occurring methods of healing. Our brains are intricately designed to heal naturally from anxieties, trauma, depression, addictions, and other forms of mental and behavioral illnesses. Our brain will also send signals to the rest of the body that it is ill through chronic hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, arrhythmia of the heart, inflammation, exhaustion, insomnia, appetite changes, and a host of other medical symptoms. This communication between our brain and body encourages us to take care of our mental health. Oftentimes, though, we need support in this process.
The second belief is that people are healed by faith through prayer and anointing. I know many pastors, mental health clinicians, and Christians who firmly believe that God heals mental health illness in this manner. In addition, diligently praying for our brain’s naturally occurring processes to heal itself is a powerful step to wellness. Utilizing the power of prayer while seeking professional help is also incredibly beneficial, something research has proven over and over.
Medical science was the third method Pastor Matt discussed. As a Christian who is called to counseling as my ministry, I firmly believe this method. Just as there is science pointing to the truth of medical healing, there is also science pointing to the truth of mental health healing. Professionals have spent years in training and study to be able to recognize and heal mental health diseases. When we seek their support in helping us heal, we are utilizing the resources God has blessed us with.
Finally, Pastor Matt reminded us that healing occurs through God taking us home. This is a touchy subject since it frequently includes suicide when we apply this concept to mental health. Mental illness, like physical illness, has the ability to overwhelm us in a way that surpasses our body’s ability to heal, resulting in the end of our life. I would never consider someone who died of cancer as being shunned from eternity with Jesus because of the illness that consumed their bodies; regardless of their treatment choices or personal lifestyle. Similarly, when hopelessness and pain overwhelm our brain’s ability to cope until our ultimate decision is ending our life, I would never claim to know that the grace and mercy of God ends there.
Beyond the issue of suicidality, it is also apparent that mental and behavioral illness cause physical illness and addiction. Occasionally these physical illnesses end in our departure from this life through physical decay, overdose or violent deaths. Yet ultimate healing is promised to those who have chosen a relationship with Jesus; a pain-free and holistically healed eternity with Him.
If you or someone you love struggles with mental health, we care deeply about you. Do not hesitate to reach out to a supportive person, pastor, or professional. You can also call the national 24-hour mental health hotline at (800) 662-4357 for education, support and connections to treatment. I also strongly encourage you to take what is shared here and explore your own beliefs. Struggles with mental health will affect most of us during our lifetime, and it is critical to engage the topic as Christ-followers.