Someone recently said to me, “I was so exhausted. I’m completely exhausted. I felt jittery, emotional, and apprehensive. My senses started to register that I was feeling just like the weather outside—gloomy and depressing. Numb. I continued to sink further and deeper until I eventually broke down over my keyboard at work one day. I couldn’t bear the thought of going through my everyday life any longer. I felt like I was about to die on the inside.”
Personally, I can empathize with this description as it captures several moments of my life. They appear to be distant and remote but they are yet vivid in my memory and I can look back to those moments. How lonely we feel when the rest of the world appears unable to sympathize with us, when no one appears capable of connecting with us in our actual hour of need.
Whatever the reason for our depression, it is a very common experience. Many people struggle with the same things as you, and there is hope! There is an important place for medical consultation and diagnosis during bouts of depression, but having a spiritual connection with God is extremely important as well.
Does the Bible Talk About Depression?
Throughout history, God has spoken to His people in innumerable situations that seemed insurmountable, and yet he has never abandoned them. We can learn a lesson about the faithfulness of God when we consider how he has remained steadfast to his people throughout history. Multiple stories recounted in the Bible, together with God’s promises, can be healing and comforting, guiding us to look beyond the clouds of our darkest days. The same God who has been faithful to Israel will be faithful to you as well as you trust in him, even as the storm clouds linger overhead.
The Scriptures are full of examples of people working through their grief in the presence of God. King David, who wrote many of the Psalms in the Bible, wrote from deep sadness that some have even described as depression. For example, he wrote:
“Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.
More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
those who attack me with lies.” (Psalm 69:1–4, ESV)
David shows us that we can cast our anxieties and our griefs upon God, for he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). In the midst of David’s despair, he often found comfort in knowing that God was with him. We can see David’s comfort break through the clouds when he asked: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 43:5).
The ancient Israelite Job is another example of a person who went through deep grief. Job was stripped of everything he owned and cried out to God, unable to understand why he was suffering such hardship (Job 1). In the meantime, God was deafeningly silent. It is only at the conclusion of the book that Job is answered and given a fresh chance at happiness. It is in the middle of the book—the period where Job was in utter despair and God was silent—that we can often relate with Job during periods of depression. Nonetheless, as we see in the story of Job, God never abandoned him, but rather remained with him throughout his trials. And no matter how many times Job cried out to God, he never turned away from him.
Several lessons can be drawn from the stories of David, Job, and other biblical characters.
- We should not dismiss our emotions of emptiness brought on by depression. Be honest about them with God in prayer, like King David.
- We should not be afraid to seek advice during difficult times. Open up the Scriptures for comfort and find spiritual counsel.
- We should not overlook or minimize the pain that has caused depression in ourselves and others.
- We should not seek shortcuts to avoid a hard struggle.
Finally, while seeking spiritual guidance and wisdom is important, we may need to
There is Hope in God!
Cry out to God and bring all of your sorrows to him! We should continue to trust him and believe in his promises, even when they do not appear to be possible. To combat our feelings and situations, we should seek company and spiritual counsel. And we should remember that even though we live in a flawed and challenging world, God is enough for us.
Finally, we must remember that our God is a God who did not abandon us in our suffering and difficulties, but rather, as was prophesied throughout the generations, he sent a Messiah who endured excruciating agony on our behalf (see Isaiah 53). Our God is not indifferent to suffering; rather, he has shared in it with us.