A Biblical Look at Depression and Discouragement

Although an explosion of depression seems to have hit our society in recent years, depression is not unique to any person or point in time. The truth is that we all may experience dark feelings of sorrow and depression from time to time. You may feel depressed because of a relationship that has gone bad or a divorce, maybe you are one of the thousands who have been affected by the recent floods or tornadoes. All around us it seems the creation is going berserk, people are getting worse and worse, our churches are failing, or leaders are sorrowful excuses for leaders. These thinks cause us to become sad and in some cases to feel hopeless.

I have been reading through the prophetical books in my Bible time, and while those prophecies were written to long ago people, mankind has not changed and we can draw application to our situations and circumstances today.

Look at several Old Testament exclamations of depression:

My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant? Why do you ignore my cries for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. Psalm 22:1-2 (NLT)

I think you will agree that the words of the Psalms are words of deep grief, suffering and sorrow. The psalmist (King David) clearly seems to be in a state of depression. He speaks of groaning, being desolate, afflicted, and crying. His words are so descriptive that you can almost see him suffering. Perhaps you feel like that today.

You may be surprised to know that you won’t find the word “depression” in a concordance. The Bible uses terms such as “cast down,” “suffering”, “sorrow,” “hardship” “trials,” “overwhelmed,” “burdens,” “troubled,” “dread,” “hopelessness,” and “tribulations.”

Not all sadness is depression. In spite of it being the world’s catch-all label for life’s problems.

What the world labels as depression is often considered to be the deep loss that comes from death, the feelings resulting from a broken relationship, life’s disappointments, the uncertainty of the days we live in, and experiencing the results of the failures of other human beings. However, these feelings are all a part of living in a sin-cursed world.

If you are struggling with sorrow or depression today, I am not going to discount your feelings and emotions. I am not going to tell you that what you feel is not real. You may feel sad. You may feel tired. You may feel hopeless and think all is lost. The truth is, hope is not lost!

The truth is almost everyone feels sorrowful, overwhelmed, or hopeless from time to time. David did, Naomi did, and Paul did! However, it is possible that feelings and emotions may be working in complete conflict with the truth. You may feel you have a reason to sorrow when none exists. Your emotions are working, but they are motivated by unbiblical thought and may themselves be unbiblical.

Remember this: it is your response to your depressive feelings that will determine the outcome!

Because this is such a pervasive issue in our world, I am going to spend several entries addressing depression and discouragement. I pray you will stick with me through it!