What causes clinical depression? Should Christians suffer from clinical depression? Is it wrong for Christians to go to psychiatrists? Are medications for mental or emotional disorders dangerous? Is depending on medical treatments for depression in conflict with faith?
Author Chris Robinson addresses these questions and more in Chosen in the Furnace. Chris writes of her journey through the labyrinth of clinical depression and relates her difficulties in dealing with the emotional disorder due to strong preconceived ideas. Throughout the book, husband and coauthor, Jim, provides clinical information about depression and theological insights regarding the Christian faith.
Over the years, Chris has found that God has not always given quick and easy answers to her questions. Even so, He has provided sufficient understanding and encouragement that enables her to go on. Chosen in the Furnace is written so that others who struggle with clinical depression will be strengthened by finding they are not alone in their “furnace of affliction.” With God’s help, they, too, can go on.
The people at the clinic were very nice and attentive, and assured us that they were ready to help – especially since we were ministers. We began to fill out the necessary papers, thinking God had surely led us to the safe haven for which we had prayed. Then, one of the personnel called Jim to his desk where they talked for several minutes. After a bit, my husband came back to where I sat. “They can’t help us,” he said. The problem was that our insurance only covered so much for emotional and mental disorders, and we had used almost all of it in the previous hospitalizations. The people at the clinic were very apologetic, but without insurance or cash, we were a poor risk.
As we drove out of the parking area, it was growing dark, and rain began falling on the windshield. It seemed to be a fitting end to a wasted day. I leaned against the passenger door, and with my head against the window, I began to cry softly.
Jim knew that going home was out of the question. He drove straight to Presbyterian Hospital’s emergency room in Dallas. There, they quickly assessed the situation and arranged to have me taken into the psychiatric ward where I would spend the next several weeks.
We were penniless and jobless, and now I was going to be hospitalized again for the third time . . . As the door of my hospital room closed behind me that night, I felt more alone than ever before. I really wondered how God could be involved in all this.
-From Chapter 6, p. 49
Jim & Chris Robinson has been involved in various types of church ministry most of her life. She and her husband, Jim, have served in several churches, with over thirty years of pastoral experience. They have two grown daughters and two grandchildren, and currently live in Springfield, Missouri.