It may be tempting to view symptoms of depression or other mental health struggles as a moral or spiritual failure, but this could not be further from the truth. Despite what you may have been told, having depression is not a failure on your part. In fact, there are references to depression (or at least symptoms of depression) throughout scripture.
Depression in the Bible
Depression may not have been defined during the time the Bible was written, but there are examples of people who experienced depressive symptoms in these writings. One of these people was David, the writer of the Psalms. Throughout the Psalms, David’s mood is chronicled, and we are able to see the dramatic shifts in his emotions. One of David’s lowest points is captured in Psalm 6:6 (ESV), “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.” In modern day, we would characterize this as depression because of the consistent low mood David is experiencing.
Another example of depression in the Bible comes from the story of Elijah. Elijah becomes overwhelmed with fear, even after seeing God accomplish incredible things in his life, and he cries out to God, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19:4b, ESV). Elijah is at his breaking point and is feeling that he would be better off not alive, something we would clearly define as a symptom of depression today.
Shifting the Narrative on Depression
Neither of these examples in scripture is of people who were not close with God. Both David and Elijah saw wonderful things throughout their lives that affirmed their faith. But these were also real people who had real emotions, so naturally, they experienced both high and low points. These low points were not a character deficit, nor did they mean these men lacked faith or right standing with God. They were human, like us, and God understands how human emotions vary during different seasons of life.
Depression is not a failure in your faith but the result of real-life events and emotions that change over time. And, just like for the people of the Bible, God will never leave you in your low moments. In fact, God often uses those moments to showcase his love.
Prayer for Depression
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
Depression can feel like a loss of joy and peace, but there is hope through faith. God has not and will not leave you, no matter how far you may feel from Him. If you feel far away from God today and need help with your depression, offer the following prayer:
God, I thank you that I am not alone today, regardless of how I am feeling. Thank you for the hope you provide and for the promises of joy. Please comfort me in my darker days as you did those in the Bible and help me remember you are always there. Amen.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by depression along with a substance use disorder, Celebrate Hope can help. Our faith-based program provides you with the mental health care you need along with spiritual support. Contact our team today to learn more about our program.