Friday, July 24, 2009

Can Christians become depressed?

A young woman recently asked me this question. I can answer that from personal experience -- YES! I've been struggling with depression for the past several months, and I've dealt with some depression in the past. God has allowed me to experience for a short time what some women deal with for years. Recently I am feeling better -- like I'm coming out of a fog.

But, don't take my word for it. Search God's Word. What does He have to say about depression? Look at the Psalms for evidence of depression in King David, the one God called a man after His own heart. David obviously struggled with his feelings AND was honest and transparent enough to write about it. I'm so glad. Reading his Psalms lets me know I'm not alone.

Psalm 13 -- David writes, "How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and everyday have sorrow in my heart?"

Psalm 22 -- David begins with these words, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Psalm 42 -- Another author asks, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?"

The prophet Elijah was depressed after his great victory on Mount Carmel. Read about it in 1 Kings 19.

Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. He penned these words in Jer 4:19.
"Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain.
Oh, the agony of my heart!
My heart pounds within me . . . "

Perhaps you've been told that if your faith was strong enough you wouldn't be depressed. Those words are hard to hear. (And you won't be hearing them from me.) When others question your faith, remember that great men of faith struggled with their emotions too. Sometimes we can work through depression with God's help. At other times we also need help from others. I'm thankful for the counselors, doctors and friends who have come alongside me in the past when I've needed their aid. I believe they've been part of God's provision for me during some of my weakest moments.

Can God bring glory out of the depression of a Christian? Absolutely! Watch for His hand -- even in the midst of your deepest sorrow. He is there.

2 comments:

  1. God is so GOOD!! I can't tell you how much it meant to me to hear you provide this advice! It was so encouraging and lifted that burden that I had been hiding in my closet for years. It was nice to finally kick it to the curb and know that it IS possible to go through dark times and still have the assurance of salvation and God's hand leading you through. I know that the situation I was in has made me love God 1000 times more because I have seen his glory and power and the ability to deliver us through those times. The Holy Spirit continues to work in all of us and to help us to share our the advice/scriptures so I thank you for being there when I needed you. You're awesome! - Jill

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  2. I love too how Jesus is described as a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering (Isaiah 53:3)... I've been reminded lately that the examples we have in the Bible are the rule, not the exception. Just like we're meant to know that we too can hear and experience God like they did, I think it's so vital to know we can break and hurt and cry out to God like they did, and be loved all the more for bringing Him something genuine. Thanks for the affirmation for those in seasons of sorrow!!!

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