We rub shoulders every day with people who are desperate, hurting, and lonely. We may not even be aware of the dark road they travel. Sometimes we notice, but often we don’t. Maybe we’re too busy, preoccupied, or overwhelmed ourselves. To be honest, many days, we might be those people, the desperate, the hurting, the lonely, struggling in finding light in the depths of depression. Just need someone to notice. To slow down. It takes time. To care.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in things and activities you once enjoyed. It can also cause difficulty with thinking, memory, eating, and sleeping.
It’s normal to feel sad about or grieve over difficult life situations, such as losing your job or a divorce. But depression is different in that it persists practically every day for at least two weeks and involves other symptoms than sadness alone.
It is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.
The Bible views depression as a trial, a time of suffering that, if viewed with an eternal perspective and treated biblically, will ultimately increase our faith. Depression results in a lack of biblical hope and trust in God.
What Are The Signs Of Depression?
- No motivation
- Difficulty in explaining one’s situation to others
- Sense of overwhelming darkness. Dramatic change in personality
- Lost hope (Hopelessness)
- Non-communicative, quiet
- Withdrawal from life
- Low joy and high negativity
- Low self-esteem, derogatory remarks about oneself
- Verbalization and signs of suicide
- Lethargic and tired
- Presence of pain without a clear cause
- Inability to function with the normal activities of life
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life” Matthew 6:25
What Are The Dangers Of Depression?
We must be careful not to minimize, justify, or excuse depression because of its severity, commonality, or frequency. Some people experience seasons of depression more frequently than others and may be tempted to commit suicide to end their suffering.
What Are Some Myths About Depression?
- True Christians never struggle with depression.
- Nothing bad happens to God’s people.
- God doesn’t care about or love me.
- People don’t care about or love me.
- Depression has a simple solution, just have faith.
Five Biblical Story On People Who Experienced Depression
The Bible doesn’t use the word “depression” except in a few translations and verses, it’s often referenced by other similar words, such as “downcast,” “brokenhearted,” “troubled,” “miserable,” “despairing,” and “mourning,” among others.
1. David Was Troubled And Battled Deep Despair:
He experienced huge grief in the loss of his sons in 2 Samuel 12:15-23 and 2 Samuel 12:18-33. In other places, David’s honesty with his weaknesses gives hope to us who struggle today:
“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.” Ps. 38:4
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Ps. 42:11
2. Elijah Was Discouraged, Weary, And Afraid:
After great spiritual victories over the prophets of Baal, this mighty man of God feared and ran for his life, far away from the threats of Jezebel. And there in the desert, he sat down and prayed, defeated and worn:
“I have had enough Lord, he said. Take my life, I am not better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:4
3. Jonah Was Angry And Wanted To Run Away:
After God called Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach to the people, he fled as far away as could. And after a storm at sea, being swallowed by a giant fish, and then being saved and given a second chance, he obeyed. He preached God’s message to the people of Nineveh. God’s mercy reached out to all people who turned to Him. But instead of rejoicing, Jonah got mad:
“Now O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:3
And even after God reached out to Jonah again with great compassion, he responded, “…I am angry enough to die.” Jonah 4:9
4. Job Suffered Through Great Loss, Devastation, And Physical Illness:
Job lost everything. So great was his suffering and tragedy that even his wife said, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:9
Though Job maintained his faithfulness to God throughout his life, he still struggled deeply through the trenches of pain:
“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” Job 3:11
“I have no peace, no quietness, I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Job 3:26
“I loathe my very life, therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.” Job 10:1
“Terrors overwhelm me…my life ebbs away, days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones, my gnawing pains never rest.” Job 30:15-17
5. Jeremiah Wrestled With Great Loneliness, Feelings Of Defeat, And Insecurity:
Also known as the weeping prophet, Jeremiah suffered from constant rejection by the people he loved and reached out to. God had called him to preach, yet forbidden him to marry and have children. He lived alone, he ministered alone, he was poor, ridiculed, and rejected by his people. In the midst of it, he displayed great spiritual faith and strength, and yet we also see his honesty as he wrestled with despair and a great sense of failure:
“Cursed be the day I was born…why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?” Jeremiah 20:14, Jeremiah 20:18
Do’s And Don’t In Helping Someone Who Is Depressed
- Be present, even when the depressed wants to be alone.
- Listen and let the depression process out loud verbally.
- Even if you don’t understand, validate their feelings as genuine.
- Love practically – acts of kind, encouraging notes/emails/texts
- Send encouraging verses as the Lord lays them on your heart
- Let them know when you are thinking, praying, and fasting for them.
- Speak the truth in a humble, loving, and compassionate manner.
- Give trite/short/simple statements to tough/complex/overwhelming problems.
- Try to solve all their problems as they verbalize them.
- Think the solution will be quick or easy.
- Add to their overwhelming guilt.
- Avoid them or give surface-level interaction when you are uncomfortable.
Tips For Those Suffering Depression
- Force yourself to get out and about with people who care about and know you.
- Ask for help from a faithful pastor, an experienced, biblical counselor, and a trusted doctor.
- Sing, memorize, pray & trust God’s truths, don’t just study them. Hope in Jesus.
- Be thankful to God for the blessings in your life, no matter how small they seem at the time.
- Desperately and dependently ask God’s help regularly through His Word.
- Ask Jesus daily for joy and healing. Confess your sinful failures daily and let them go.
Additional Bible Verses For Recovering From Depression
- Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
- Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Depression is a common, yet very treatable condition that affects many people in our world. Yet statistics tell us that only about one-third of those who are depressed receive treatment. This is unfortunate since 80-90% of those who do seek treatment often report feeling better within just a few weeks. It’s also known that depression is the linked cause for over two-thirds of suicides reported each year.
Remember, you are not alone. Seek support from loved ones, professionals, and your faith community. And never forget, even in the darkest moments, God’s love shines brightly, offering hope and healing.
If you find yourself in dark places today, know that you’re not alone. Not ever. God knows your way, is with you always, and has good still in store.