15th November 2021

In warfare it’s important to know as much as possible about your enemy. In a pandemic, health professionals rely on scientists to understand what they’re up against. The same applies to mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Christian work and ministry puts great emphasis on playing to our strengths, individually or collectively as a church. But we all have weaknesses.

Parallels with health practice may help here. Doctors know what symptoms to look out for. In assessing our own spiritual, emotional and mental health, we may identify fear, envy, rage, guilt, weariness, repeated temptation, doubt and cynicism. In both medicine and faith, there are also underlying, long-term issues – baggage from the past. These unhelpful emotions can come to the surface, interfering with everyday life. Most of us carry difficult memories – scar tissue from the past that can trip us up: lingering hurts, the harbouring of on-going resentments, grievances or jealousy. When travelling, going over our baggage allowance can cost us dear. Taking stock of our emotional baggage from the past can protect us from damage now, and in the future.

Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). There is no inoculation against negative experiences. As Christians, we are not exempt from the knocks of life. However, Jesus offers us his help, forgiveness and healing, in all its forms. He is indeed the Great Physician.

Dave Bell