The Meaning of Depression
Do you feel alone in your depression? It’s encouraging to know that its part of depression to feel that way but you are not alone. Depression is a universal malady that affects many people. Dictionary of Bible Themes says depression is “A deep sense of despondency, discouragement and sadness, often linked with a sense of personal powerlessness and a loss of meaning in and enthusiasm for life. Many biblical characters show evidence of such behaviour which originates in a number of different ways.” We will be discussing 5 Bible characters who suffered with depression.
Elijah Suffered with Depression
“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:4 NIV.
Elijah is in distress and running from Jezebel who had promised to kill him. He is depressed to the point of wanting to die and related this to the Lord. Why he decided that God wouldn’t protect him as He did before is confusing because of all the miracles God performed before this. Evidently he became weak physically and in spirit. Twice the Lord sent angels to refresh him and he was able to carry on. The Lord gave him instructions to take care of the problem.
Job is Overwhelmed by Depression
“And now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest. In His great power God becomes like clothing to me; He binds me like the neck of my garment. He throws me into the mud, and I am reduced to dust and ashes." Job 30:16-19 NIV
Job had many reasons to be depressed. He lost his children, possessions, along with his health and did not understand why the Lord had allowed this to happen to him. His life was one of staying close to the Lord and His will. It didn’t help Job’s state of mind to have three of his friends tell him it was all his fault.
At the end of Job, God speaks and educates Job in what He is capable of. Job is humble and his reason for vindication ceases. He knows that God loves him in spite of the trials and He blesses Job twice as much as before.
David Suffered with Depression
"How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?" Psalm 13:1-2 NIV
How long? Does that sound familar to you? It does to me. In these two verses, David says it four times creating emphasis. David loses his patience with God because he has not received an answer. He is relying on his feelings and not what he knows.
I can relate. Who would not want relief from those circumstances of pain. David is asking for God to remove the problem so the pain will go away. God is not ready to do that and David is not resting in the Lord as he waits. He is not allowing God to help him in his pain.
In the course of Psalm 13, David remembers how God is there for him. His attitude become one of trust and praise. He remarks that God has been good to him.
"But I trust in Your unfailing love; my hear rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord's praise, for He has been good to me." Psalm 13:6 NIV
Jeremiah is Often Depressed
"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall, I well remember them, and my soul is downcast with me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Becuase of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:19-23 NIV
Jeremiah’s tough job of being God’s prophet to the rebellious nation of Israel during the reign of King Josiah, Jehoiakin and Zedekiah was a lonely one. Jeremiah is called the “weeping prophet” because according to Got Quetions.org, “the often gloomy nature of his message and the grief he expressed for his people.”, contributed to his depression. He still could praise God in spite of his suffering.
Mourning for Israel finally came to an end and Jeremiah was able to deliver hope to his people. God promised Israel their people would return later from their exile in Babylon to their home.
Naomi is Depressed
"Don't call me Naomi,' she told them, 'Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.'" Ruth 1:20-21 NIV
Naomi had left Bethlehem with her family during a drought to go to the country of Moab. They lived there for 10 years and during that time she lost her husband and her two sons later on. Coming back to Bethlehem she was now without her family. Imagine her grief and loneliness.
The Lord blessed her with an amazing daughter-in-law who chose to return with her. Through this relationship with Ruth she is a blessed woman. Ruth marries Boaz and has a son. This greatly improves Naomi’s quality of life helping her to overcome her depression.
5 Bible Characters Who Suffered with Depression but Won with God
The Lord brought these 5 people back from depression. They all began blaming God for their situations but knew deep down that He was there to help them. He did not always answer immediately but chose the best time for everyone involved.
At times when they seem to be disconnected with God, they weren’t really. In their misery they needed to express their feelings to their Father. They were faltering at that moment because of their emotions and as they begin to allow God’s peace to overcome their depression they revived.
These are good lessons for all of us when we forget our source of peace. These examples show that depression is common to the human condition and we do not have to remain there.
If you need prayer for depression or any other requests, leave a comment and we will be happy to pray with you.