As one who has suffered from depression in the past, I can surely relate and empathize with you. In my case, it lasted nearly a year before I was diagnosed properly with a “chemical imbalance” that was caused from work-place toxicity that overcame my immune system. I was then told to leave my job and a strict diet was also prescribed in order to remove the toxic poisons that had invaded my body. Before I was diagnosed, I suffered greatly and I wondered if there had been a sin in my life that had caused my depression (and other symptoms). I often cried out like David of old, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24…NKJV). I believed, and still do, that this is a proper exercise of heart when a believer is afflicted, whether the affliction is physical, mental or emotional. I will add that even though I was finally cured of my depression, the suffering was so intense at times that I thought I was losing my mind. A well-known passage that proved to be a “life-line” to me was Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” I learned NOT to trust my thoughts but in the Lord’s perfect wisdom and love for me and this literally kept me from losing my sanity. I also learned through the trial the PERFECT SYMPATHY of the Lord Jesus, my Great High Priest. Hebrews 4:14-15 became another “life-line” for me: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

There are cases of depression in believers in the Bible. Two notable examples are Elijah and Jonah who were so depressed they despaired of their lives. In 1st Kings 19:4 we read of Elijah, “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.” Jonah prayed a similar prayer, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore now, O LORD, please TAKE MY LIFE FROM ME, FOR IT IS BETTER TO DIE THAN TO LIVE” (Jonah 4:2-3). If we read the context in which these prayers were offered up to God we see that both men, who were great servants of the Lord, had become depressed when their “reputation” was being threatened in some way. With Elijah he had just performed great miracles and then he fled for safety when his life was threatened by a wicked woman named Jezebel (see 1st Kings 18:20-19:3). Jonah had just preached a message of God’s judgment to the city of Nineveh and yet God had mercy on the city when it repented and withdrew His judgment from them (see Jonah chapters 1-3). The lesson in these two men is simple; depression can be caused by BEING OBSESSED WITH OURSELVES AND OUR REPUTATION.

The solution to what we have just seen is to GET OUR EYES OFF FROM OURSELVES and FOCUS ON OTHERS! You may have heard it said that for a Christian true JOY is by thinking first of Jesus, then Others, and Yourself last. We see the first in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice.” The second is brought out in Philippians 2:2-4, “Fulfill my joy by being like-minded…let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind LET EACH ESTEEM OTHERS BETTER THAN HIMSELF. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also FOR THE INTEREST OF OTHERS.” If we have the Lord Jesus and others as our object in life, depression will often give way to joy! But we need to make a conscience effort to have them in our thoughts. Instead of focusing on bad circumstances in our life, think on the good that we can see in others. I believe this is what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he penned Philippians 4:8, “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, dear one, can prove to be “a recipe for true joy.”

I started by speaking of my depression and how it was caused by a PHYSICAL PROBLEM. This may be the case with you and if it is you will indeed need to continue to seek professional help until it is resolved. I will pray for you that no matter what the source of your depression is you will be cured of it. I must add though that there are cases of depression caused by serious mental issues such as DEMENTIA or ALZHEIMER’S that may never be fully cured “in this life.” In such cases the believer must continually seek God’s grace through faithfully reading His Word and by prayer. He may not remove the affliction but He can give you grace to endure it (read carefully 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10). And then take comfort in the fact that this trial is only temporary, for the Day is coming when Christ will give believers a new body (including a NEW MIND) and all of our sufferings will be forever gone! See Romans 8:18-23; 2nd Corinthians 5:1-4; and Philippians 3:20-21.  (370.3)  (DO)