In the news, sadly, the reality that some people are experiencing deep-dark depression has come to light to cause many to wonder and to discuss just how this could happen.
Unfortunately, I believe there are far too many walking wounded around us and we just don’t know it. They can function, can put on a happy face and hide the sadness inside. For a time I was one of those people.
Even those who have accepted Christ as their Savior and have the hope of eternal life can be weighted down by troubles, doubts, the cares of this world and a sense of hopelessness.
What do we do?
I believe that every one is dealing with something in their life, whether it is great or small. Whether they’re a believer or not. And whether it is something so big in their life that they cannot find an answer, a hope or a purpose…
For some people it is difficulty at work, problems at home, financial problems, or health problems. For some it is the daily grind of life…life can be hard at times.
I think what we can do each day as individuals is to be kind one to another. When you’re out and about look people in the eye and smile – say hello…do a kind deed when out if you’re able. Be patient with people who treat you badly – it could very well be that they’re hurting and you just happen to be the easiest, nearest person to take their pain out on.
God knows and understands that we will some times get overcome by circumstances of life…but, for those who believe it is not hopeless even though the answer or relief to the problem may not be at hand.
There are many stories and verses in the Bible for our learning. God gave examples of just about every situation so that we can learn and so that we can know…we’re not alone.
Even though the word, ‘depression’ is not in the bible, equivalent words are there that define it’s core meaning to include: brokenhearted, troubled, despair, mourning, and downcast…
People in the Bible who Struggled with Depression
David struggled with so very many things for so very long. He was pursued by his enemies and struggled with loneliness, and deep grief. In the Psalms written by David during these times we can find a man to whom we may be able to relate at times. David honestly cried out to God his feelings of despair…
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 42:11
Elijah is well known for having that great spiritual victory and then almost immediately experiencing doubt and depression.
“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a [a]broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” I Kings 19:4
Jonah was given a task by God and didn’t want to do it. Jonah experienced anger and depression…after he was swallowed by the great fish and then witnessed to the people of Ninevah he actually became angry.
“Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!…Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” Jonah 4:3, 9
No one else is described as having suffered as much as Job. Job lost his family, possession and health. So much so that even his own wife told him to curse God and die…although Job maintained his integrity – he still suffered anguish of pain and doubt.
“My soul loathes my life; I will [a]give free course to my complaint, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” Job 10:1
Known as the weeping prophet, Jeremiah suffered from great loneliness and depression as he was constantly rejected by his own people. Jeremiah was called to live alone and lived in poverty. Although he demonstrated great faith, he struggled with feelings of despair and failure.
“Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me!…Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, That my days should be consumed with shame?” Jeremiah 20:14, 18
So…How can we overcome depression or help someone experiencing depression?
Return our focus, our thinking and our minds to what is true…
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Know you’re never alone…
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17
“I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3
Remember God’s unfailing love…
“Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.” Psalm 32:10
Give your cares to God…
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:6-7
Gain peace through Christ
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you [a]will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
God will comfort us…so that we can comfort others…
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” II Corinthians 1:3-4
Know trouble will come…
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” I Peter 4:12-13
Don’t give in to depression. Get the rest you need and seek God through His word, through prayer and through song…There will be tough times, they’re not hopeless… we always have hope.
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10