Especially when you face the mundane burdens of enduring suffering while living with mental affliction.
In 2 Corinthians 1:8, Paul confesses that at one point he suffered so much affliction that he “despaired of life itself,” which is a remarkable statement—and not the kind of declaration you would expect from one of the greatest apostles of Christ.
But despairing of life is a surprisingly common sentiment in Scripture. The prophet Elijah asks God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4). Job laments that he was not immediately “carried straight from the womb to the grave” (10:19). The preacher of Ecclesiastes (4:2–3) and the prophet Jeremiah (15:10) similarly wished they had never been born.
Whether the reason for such distress is religious persecution, personal loss, evil’s prevalence in the land, or the burden of being a prophet of God, despairing of life is not an abnormal experience.
We see similar trends today. According to the CDC, the rate of suicide among males aged 15–24 rose 8 percent in 2021, and according to Mental Health America, over 20 percent of adults are experiencing a mental illness.
There are several possible explanations for these rising rates of mental affliction—but for those who are suffering, there is a much more immediate question: Why get out of bed only to endure such mental misery?
While it may seem morbid to ask such a question, it’s necessary for us to have an answer.
Life is filled with joy and beauty, but at one time or another, each of us will face the challenge of mental suffering. For some of us, it will take the form of a diagnosed mental illness. For others, it will come in the form of life’s many travails. We do a great disservice to one another by recognizing mental suffering only when it has an official diagnosis. …