Depression in the Bible
People think depression is just a modern problem, but it’s not. There are even examples in the Bible of depression. You can think of David, the psalmist, in Psalm 32 and Psalm 51, or Heman in Psalm 88—the darkest psalm in the whole book of Psalms. In Job, there’s definitely evidence of depression in the chapters of his book. Jeremiah even wrote a book called Lamentations.
Counselor David Murray introduces readers to the personal stories of 18 teens who have dealt with different types of anxiety or depression. From these accounts, Murray equips teens with keys to unlock the chains of anxiety and depression and experience new liberty, peace, and joy in their lives.
But maybe the most obvious figure who suffered from depression is Elijah in 1 Kings. The interesting thing is his depression came after a tremendous spiritual accomplishment. He’d just been at Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal, and he had this great triumph. He’d shown God and all his glory, then he runs and he ends up totally alone, depressed, exhausted, scared, self-critical, despairing, pessimistic about the future, and he thinks he’s the only believer left in this world, so let me die. What’s really interesting is God’s response to that. What’s the first thing God does? He gives him food, he gives him a drink, and he sends him to sleep. Then he does the same again, and only after Elijah’s physically revived does he begin to speak with a still, small voice into his life. Not a loud, condemning voice, but a still, small, quiet voice.
The greatest saints can get depression, even after the greatest spiritual highs.
What the Bible Teaches about Depression
I think what it tells us is that the greatest saints can get depression, even after the greatest spiritual highs. And God cares. He’s holistic and compassionate in his approach to depression. So the Bible has a lot to teach us about how to respond to it as well.
David Murray is the author of Why Am I Feeling Like This?.
Depression can be quite as fiery a trial as any other. The good news is that God does indeed hear the cry of the afflicted.
During seasons of depression or anxiety, most of us find it hard to concentrate, we feel God is far away, and we despair of God hearing us or helping us.
Although you feel hopeless and helpless, I want to assure you that there is hope and there is help.
God, in his love and wisdom, chose this very specific trial for me.