Mental Health experts around the world report, with growing concern, that stress—physical and mental—continues to erode away the edges of society, resulting in increased suicides, family abandonment, elder abuse and run-away children. Heading the list of symptoms for this growing world health crisis is depression, defined as one's inability to cope with the immediate to the point of breakdown and withdrawal.
According to the World Health Organization, "Mental illnesses affect the functioning and thinking processes of the individual, greatly diminishing his or her social role and productivity in the community. In addition, because mental illnesses are disabling and last for many years, they take a tremendous toll on the emotional and socio-economic capabilities of relatives who care for the patient, especially when the health system is unable to offer treatment and support at an early stage" (www.who.int/topics/mental_health/en/).
The report lists specific economic and social costs, on a worldwide scale, of lost production from premature deaths caused by suicide; lost production from people with mental illness who are unable to work, in the short, medium or long term; cost of accidents by people who are psychologically disturbed, especially dangerous in people like train drivers, airline pilots, factory workers, etc.; unemployment, alienation, and crime among young people with problems such as depression, behavior disorder—the list is almost endless.
Jesus Christ warned His disciples that in the end-times these very issues would dominate the world scene. But in the face of this prophesied human misery, He inexplicably told them: "See that you are not troubled" (Matthew 24:6). Was Jesus being callused to the individual and communal misery caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or by war and other human actions? Does He want His followers not to relate to, or to be moved by the sufferings of this end-time age?
Jesus is well acquainted with the human condition. A prophecy about His human existence on earth establishes that: "He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:3-5).
No, He was not being insensitive to the devastation toward which mankind is heading, nor does He want true Christians to be unconcerned. There is a wonderful plan of salvation laid out before mankind, which it rejected at the very beginning when Adam and Eve disobeyed their Creator and ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Mankind has, since then, continued to reject God's way of life, His Laws, His plan for them. We want to do it our own way, which produces the evil, the pain, the human sorrows through disease, wars and even natural disasters enveloping the world today. But God has compassion on His creation, and 2,000 years ago sent His own Son, Jesus, "who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9). It was the keystone to the glorious plan They have for man: God interfacing with man—as a man—to bring man to his ultimate destiny (vv. 6–8).
Jesus wants His true followers not to be discouraged or distracted by the events of this end-time, and to keep their eyes focused on God's solutions, because Christians are necessary to the fulfillment of His plan—a plan in which they will have important roles (Daniel 7:27; Revelation 20:4).