FYI: Depression

Consider the Old Testament prophet Elijah.

Elijah had a close relationship with God and was used powerfully by Him. Many people witnessed the greatness of God through the prophet.

Elijah encouraged many people. He helped a widow and her son who were down-and-out and had only enough food for one more meal. Elijah told the widow that God would provide, and He did. Later, when her son died, Elijah asked God to bring him back to life, and God did. This widow’s hope was restored through Elijah.

Elijah did many other amazing works by the power of God, but the Bible shows that even great men of God can get tripped up by the trials and challenges of living God’s way in a world under the sway of Satan. The story of Elijah’s descent into depression is a classic.

Not only was Elijah hated and threatened with death by the evil Queen Jezebel, he also felt his work had been in vain and that no one else was supporting God. He felt totally alone, vulnerable and hopeless. Being human like you and me, all this started to get to him.

Elijah got overwhelmed and wanted to quit. No one knew Elijah was depressed. But God did.

God approached Elijah, and Elijah told God that he had been doing his best, but it was all for nothing. Elijah told God he was tired and just wanted to quit and die!

God then did something surprising. First He put on a display of His power. But immediately afterward, He comforted Elijah by talking with him in a gentle whisper. God also quietly told Elijah that He had more work for him to do and let him know he wasn’t alone. God showed Elijah He was more than just a mighty God of power. He was also a compassionate God that cared. Elijah’s hope was restored (1 Kings 19:1-18).

What Does the Bible Say About Depression?

Perhaps you are tired too. Does it seem like you’re doing your best, only to have one crisis after another come upon you? Do you feel like the world is crashing in on you, and there’s nothing you can do about it? Do you want to just give up?

God’s Word has plenty to say about discouragement and depression and how to deal with both.

Where is the first place you should go when you are depressed?

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Psalm 61:1-4

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.

Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

When depression is caused by our past mistakes, what does God promise to do?

Psalm 32:1-5

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah [a transliterated Hebrew word used as a poetic refrain] I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Psalm 51:1-3, 7-10

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me…

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

A guilty conscience can lead one into deep depression. God tells us to confess our sin to Him, and He will forgive us. True repentance includes turning from sin, which means we must try not to commit the sin again. Even though God will forgive the sin, we still may have to deal with the consequences of our mistakes. But again, God will be there to help us (Isaiah 41:10).


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