Some people live lives filled with trouble or trauma, and it’s easy to understand why they feel tired, down, and gloomy. Some have a medical illness or are taking life-saving medication with the side effect of making them feel sad or hopeless. Some are genetically predisposed to look at the world through dark lenses and struggle to be able to feel any joy. Some have simply learned to focus on what’s wrong in the world.
Whether you are depressed because of a “biochemical imbalance”, because your life is outwardly extraordinarily difficult, or just because that’s how you see life, you’re not alone. Many believers – and some of God’s best friends throughout history – have struggled in this way.
But that’s not the end of the story. Your struggle is no surprise to God. Here are some things the Bible says to those who are depressed:
- God understands. Jesus knew sorrow and grief. (Isaiah 53:3) He suffered – and not only at His death. (Hebrews 5:8) His Holy Spirit today understands our hearts – including our moods and feelings. (Romans 8:26) God understands your moods and feelings better than you do, and He’s right there with you regardless of how you feel. He’s not gone just because you don’t feel Him. (Hebrews 13:5)
- You are responsible for your thoughts. God created you with executive authority over your mind, and that especially means choosing what you focus your thoughts on. Paul made very explicit the command to think on what is true, lovely, honest, and good, etc. (Philippians 4:8) Christ’s victory over evil means we are able to and responsible for bringing our thoughts “captive” to His way of being and thinking. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
- Healing from the mental illness of depression is possible. This is not the place to define the difference between “normal” and “mental illness” when it comes to depression. But wherever you are on that spectrum, remember that Jesus is the Great Physician for you too! He came to heal our whole being – body, mind, and soul. (Isaiah 53:4, Matthew 4:24) God’s restoration process involves our mind as much as our spirit and body. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
- God expects you to cooperate in your healing. That doesn’t mean you can heal yourself! It means that you are responsible to do whatever is in your power to do – such as living a healthy lifestyle (healthy food, adequate rest and exercise, etc.), choosing uplifting mental food, getting help when necessary, choosing your thoughts, etc. Jesus sometimes asked those He healed to do something, such as stand up or wash their eyes. (Mark 2:11, John 9:7) Ask Him what He wants you to do.
- God can still use you. Biblically, Elijah wanted to die. (1 Kings 19:4) Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. (Jeremiah 9:1, and others) Charles Spurgeon is said to have suffered depression all his life. If you have similar feelings, it doesn’t mean God is finished with you. His greatest purpose for you may be yet to come. God is less worried about your mood than about your willingness to heed His voice when He calls.
If depression is still your struggle, don’t give up. God has an answer for you. Whether you find that answer today or some day yet to come, know that it’s there.
And most important, remember that HE is there, regardless of what your feelings say.
Your Turn: What do you see in the Bible about dealing with your mental health? Leave a comment below.
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