‘More on my side than I am myself’

In several sermons recently, Tom has talked about the pressures of modern life and the strain this brings to many people, regardless of their back-ground and personal situation. On one level, it seems paradoxical that many studies show that despite long-term increases in prosperity in Western societies over many decades – not for all of course – there have also been increases in incidents of anxiety, stress and depression.

This is something I have encountered in recent months. On the face of it, there seems no logical reason. I have a loving, stable and supportive family, a good circle of friends and a rewarding, well paid if challenging job. However, as I have learned, mental illness is not something to be logically explained but, from my experience at the worst times can leave you in utter despair and fearful of the future.

I am now on medication and speaking to a Counsellor. I feel much more stable and content. I have also drawn much strength from my faith. I remember praying one early morning when I felt very low and then falling asleep again just for a few minutes but woke up feeling completely refreshed and was then at ease for the rest of the day.

I have taken particular strength from Martin Smith’s book ‘A Season for the Spirit’. There is one particular phrase that I found especially helpful; that is to think of God as ‘the One who is more on my side than I am myself.’ This has definitely helped me feel much stronger and more confident in my faith than before my recent illness.

For others suffering similar experiences, my prayers are with you. I hope you can find the same support I have from family, close friends and professionals, but also through your relationship with God.