“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
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Recently, I read a jarring statement by an author. It exclaimed, “Where there is depression, there is no God.” The author went on to describe how depression is of the devil. While that may sound good to some ears, I submit that that isn’t true. Godly people get depressed. Christians get depressed. We see examples in the Bible of godly men and women who exhibited signs of depression.
It is a misconception that those who follow Christ should not get depressed and that those who do get depressed do not have God with them. We see plenty of God’s people who were despondent and in a state of despair. Recall the prophet Elijah when he fled from Jezebel and sat under a broom tree in the wilderness. “And he asked that he might die, saying, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers’” (1 Kings 19:4). He felt so bad about his situation, that he didn’t want to live. Yet, the Lord was right there with him. God sent an angel to Elijah, provided him with food to eat and water to drink, and He allowed him to rest (1 Kings 19:5-8).
And you remember Job, right? He was the man from Uz who feared God and hated evil. God allowed Satan to strike Job, taking his 10 children, destroying his livestock, and afflicting his health. Job cursed the day that he was born and cried out, “Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures” (Job 3:20-21). He longed for death to be put out of his misery. That sounds a lot like being depressed. But God never left him. He actually allowed all those things to happen to Job because He knew that he was faithful and would continue to serve Him (Job 1:8-12).
There are many others in the Bible who were in despair of their souls and showed symptoms of depression. Hannah was depressed (1 Samuel 1:10). Jonah was depressed (Jonah 4:3). Even David was depressed (Psalm 6:6-7). However, the Lord was still with them and even blessed them. So just because you or someone you love is depressed – sad, despondent, or in despair – does not mean that you or they are ungodly. It also does not mean that God is not there with you. God actually is right there in the darkness with you, beckoning you to come to his light – just like with Elijah, Job, Jonah, and so many others.
It’s okay to feel down and depressed. It doesn’t make you a bad person or less of a Christian, if you are a follower of Christ. Just know that God is right there with you in the midst of your struggles. You are not alone. If you feel like Elijah or Job or Jonah and think that you would be better off not being here, please find someone to talk to – a family member, a friend, an elder or preacher, or the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can even reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will assist you in any way that I can. You are loved, and you don’t have to go through your depression in silence or alone.
Hear the Lord’s declaration to you: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).