Depression is brutal, real, and Christians are not immune to it.
One of the powers of depression is that it makes you think you are the only one… it likes to isolate. What you need to know is that depression is not as uncommon as you might think. Many great Christians over the past 2,000 years have suffered from depression at levels ranging from seasonal to full on. Charles Spurgeon and Martin Luther are just two of them that battled against the dark cloud of depression. In the Bible we see King David (the man after God’s own heart) suffered from depression and his son Solomon seemed to have the same battle.
The most thorough and human description of depression in the Bible occurs in the life of Elijah. It is recorded in I Kings 19. Elijah had just experienced a great victory and had the assurance that God loved him. His depression was not caused by real circumstances. He, like many of us was confused when even though life is good we find ourselves depressed.
Here is how his depression was described:
-He was afraid, he ran away, he isolated himself, he felt worn out, he asked God to take isHHhis his life, he slept a lot, and he did not eat
That is some heavy depression. All of the major symptoms were there along with a sense of spiritual emptiness.
The story of Elijah did not end with him sitting under a tree depressed. It ended with his fulfilling God’s calling on his life.
How did he recover from his depression?
-He allowed God to care for him, he allowed for God’s messengers to care for him, he listened for God’s voice, he left the place of isolation, and he was reminded of his purpose in life. It took a process to get him out of the depression. It was not a magical fix.
Depression involves the physical, the spiritual, and the emotional and they are all connected. Once depression takes hold it gets more and more difficult to ask for help. If you feel yourself slipping into the dark take these steps before it goes too far.
Go get a physical exam – a doctor can help decide if medication or counseling are necessary
Get connected to a church or Christians who understand depression and how to help
Tell a friend what is happening and ask them to keep an eye on you.
Pray and read His word. He is not going to reject you. He gets it.
Remember that Jesus was a man “of sorrow and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53). He can walk with you through it and His death and resurrection can give you hope that you will get through it.