What does the Bible say about depression? What verses can I turn to when I am feeling down? Where is God when I am depressed?
Depression sucks. I know that first hand. I have struggled with depression for years. Today I want to share some scriptures that I cling to for hope and help when depression is attacking me. These verses have helped me numerous times. I have also used these scriptures in countless counseling sessions with people who were also struggling.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor am I currently a practicing psychologist. If you are struggling with depression reach out to someone in your life. You need someone with you as you work through this. I know there can be a shame associated with being depressed and being a believer. Reach out to someone you admire spiritually and know that depression happens and there is nothing to be ashamed about. Also I believe that most of depression is spiritual and that is why I am sharing scriptural truths to claim over yourselves, but I also know that some cases of depression are medical and chemically based so don’t be ashamed of also seeking medical help. There is no shame in needing help as we work through difficult seasons. I am a huge advocate of Christian counseling. I think we could all use a little counseling at some point in our lives.
1 Kings 19:5-8 NKJV
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.
Elijah was a great prophet and even he went through a season that looks a whole lot like depression to me. I love this passage because it shows you God’s heart towards His children when they’re down. Elijah told God that he wanted to die and God came alongside him and gave him the strength to live. He fed him to strengthen him physically. He told him multiple times to rest and even sent an angle to comfort him by being physically present. God does the same for us today. They is no shame in where you are and God will come along side you and strengthen you to get up and keep living.
Also note Elijah’s problem. He lost focus. He allowed fear in. His trust in God’s ability to protect and care for him wavered. Also note that God’s steadfast and unconditional love did not waiver. God’s love does not lessen when you struggle either.
Psalm 42:5 NKJV
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.
I LOVE Psalm 42 and I suggest that if you are struggling you read the whole Psalm. I just picked this verse out of it because I love David and I love how he chose to handle his soul. He’s just like “Soul! What is your problem?! Why are you so down? Why are you depressed?!” (My Andriana Translation. You are welcome.) He knew he was in charge of his soul. The soul is that messy part of us that is made up of our thoughts and emotions. David tells his soul to hope in God. I think there is power in telling your soul what to think. There is power in your thought life. If you are constantly meditating on how depressed you are, you will likely stay that way. However if you start telling yourself no when those thought creep up and instead focus on God, in my experience depression tends to flee a heck of a lot sooner! Remind your mind that your emotions do not define you! You are not a victim of your own emotions! Tell yourself how good God is. Find scriptures that describe God’s nature and meditate on those!
Philippians 4:8 NKJV
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
This just reiterates my last point. There is great power in what you allow to take up residence in your mind. Depression is a mental battle. It takes place on the battlefield that is your mind. It is not easy to retrain your mind to only think on things that would fall under these categories. It starts with baby steps. Practice catching your mind wandering and choose to instead think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy!
Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
If you struggle with depression you know that depressed people have a tendency to isolate themselves from others. We were created to be communal beings and I believe that when we isolate ourselves and cut ourselves off from community we are allowing things to fester and grow in our lives that are harmful and depression is one of them. You need to have believers in your life to stir you up! You can’t allow yourself to waller in your mess all alone. I think this is a major reason for the church in general. We are to be there for those that are down, lifting them up and next time we are in that place they will do the same for us. The church is suppose to be this place where you come when you're all banged up and broken from the fight that is life. You come to the church to be encouraged, cleaned up and strengthened in the Lord and reminded of His goodness and sent back out! Don’t cut yourself off from this lifeline. Surround yourself with people who will point you to the love of God!
These are just a few verses that help me. The Bible is packed with so many more awesome truths and promises for us to cling to regardless of our circumstances. I challenge and encourage you to get into yourself, especially if you are struggling. Bible study is just an awesome way to begin to invite God into your pain.
I hope these encourage you today regardless of where you are on your walk. If there are verses that help you when you are depressed that I didn’t share then please leave them below. The more scriptures for depression the better! Also please share this post so that we can keep helping those who are hurting!
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