You might find it surprising that the Bible actually deals with the subject of depression, though it never uses the exact word. The Scriptures also give us the assurance that in Christ we have hope, no matter what we may be dealing with.
While we all may feel depressed from time to time, those who deal with severe depression can often come to see themselves as “worthless” and “helpless” and in a “hopeless” situation (see this informative HelpGuide article.)
We pray that by dwelling on, appropriating and acting on the principles we outline in this article, you will come to believe that God cares about your every hurt and can attend to your every need.
Psalms to Lift Your Soul
The Psalms are a good resource to turn to when you are in the midst of heavy trials, as they are filled with words of comfort and encouragement. Simply reading one a day can do wonders to uplift your spirits and keep you from sinking further into the pit of depression.
Psalm 42, in particular, was written to appeal especially to the downtrodden soul. In Verse 5, it reads: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”
In the days when you find your spirit so depressed that it becomes hard even to get out of bed, meditate on these words and let the Lord, who is the Keeper of your soul, encourage you again and again.
Asking for Help
Asking for help is never easy, as we can feel that doing so places us in a vulnerable position. The fact is, however, we can be blessed by the beautiful people God has placed in our lives.
While it’s true that there are times when we have to travel our journeys alone, there are also other times when the fulfillment of God’s promises to us needs the help of the right people.
“Remember that no matter how long you’ve been battling your illness, the promises of God remain the same.”
If you’re currently dealing with a mental illness, talking to a faith-based counsellor could be useful as you embark on the road to recovery. It also wouldn’t hurt to participate in a faith-based support group or rely on the backing of your church community (Exodus 17:12).
The Promises of God
Inevitably, there are times in life when we get knocked down to an extent that continuing the journey becomes even more challenging.
The prophet Elijah knew what this was like. On the run for his life from a ruthless queen, he came to the point where he wished to die (1 Kings 19:4). But the Lord stepped in and sent an angel who “touched him and said unto him, ‘Arise and eat’” (Verse 5). So, although Elijah experienced a moment of weakness and lost his will to live, God did not grant his desire and instead, divinely intervened to further affirm him in his value and purpose. In the same story, Elijah went to meet God in what would be the highest point of his spiritual journey. From there, he proceeded to complete his God-appointed mission (1 Kings 19:8-21).
We can see that if Elijah, an ordained prophet, was threatened with depression and discouragement, we will be, too. The beautiful thing is we don’t have to allow these moments of weakness to steer us off the path on which God is calling us to embark. In such times, let us call out to the Lord, who promises to renew our strength (Isaiah 40:29-31). Remember that no matter how long you’ve been battling your illness, the promises of God remain the same.
Dealing with Guilt
We all make mistakes, but difficulties arise when we dwell on them for too long. We also suffer needless burdens when we become unwilling to submit to God in repentance for our past sins.
During times of deep depression, we often find some element of guilt contributing to our state of mind. These guilt feelings can become maximized because of internalization. (I should add that, when dealing specifically with a mental illness, we may at times tend to misplace feelings of guilt onto those who are already wrestling with feelings of self-blame, hurt and bitterness from sins that were committed against them. Regardless of what the situation may be, our job is not to condemn others, but rather to seek to help them come to terms with their own guilt at a God-appointed time.)
Take the case of Judas. While he did admit to his guilt after committing the act of betrayal, he did this with the wrong people (Matthew 27:4). In his time of agony, he should have sought out Christ, who would have been more than willing to forgive him. Instead, his overwhelming feelings of guilt and regret drove him to his death. This is in contrast to Peter, another follower of Christ, who chose not to let his guilt consume him. After receiving the gift of repentance, Peter sought forgiveness and Christ, in his mercy, redeemed him (John 21:15).
The truth is that none of us can go back in time and fix our mistakes, but we can choose to allow the Lord to help us move forward in spite of them. This may mean we need to apologize privately to those we have wronged. At other times, the situation may call for us to make a public confession (James 5:15-16, 1 John 1:9, Matthew 18:15-17). Sometimes, we can do neither, but in any given situation, we have the choice to beat ourselves up for the rest of our lives or simply forgive ourselves, learn from what we did and move on. Easier said than done, right? Yet, I believe it’s possible in the Spirit of Christ (Philippians 4:13).
Trusting in God
When things start to fall apart in our lives, we tend to take our eyes off Christ. But there is actually no better time to demonstrate our faith in him than in these moments.
The Apostle Paul knew this to be true, as he himself came to a point when he “despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8). It was then he came to recognize that he had to look above for his true source of dependency. In Verse 9, he states to the Corinthian church that they too needed to learn to “trust not in (themselves), but in God which raiseth the dead …”
You may have lost your courage and come to a point where you no longer feel like living, but the Lord is beckoning you again and again to look up, press in closer to him and trust. Trust that the Lord has not forgotten about you, no matter what circumstances may be telling you. Trust that you can love again, despite your past hurts. Trust him when He says you can wake up again and face another day.
You may have been living with a mental illness for years, but trust God when He says that healing is yours. (Remember, though, that healing is not always immediate and may come in an unexpected form.) Trust that there is a reason why you’re still alive and further, that His purpose for your life will be fulfilled.
Trust God, even if it takes everything you have left!
No one should have to go through a battle alone. If you or someone you know needs help, please see the list of resources we put together just for you.
While we are not equipped to offer support, we are more than happy to pray for you! Feel free to get in touch, with your request.
Video Creation: Starla Hill Jimenez
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