Depression and the Bible
Did you know the Bible has a lot to say about depression??
I have read this before when I wasn’t dealing with all my extra emotions that seem to flood my heart at the worst possible moments lately. I didn’t realize that this passage was talking about depression and anxiety. Turns out it’s not just a millennial thing?!?! Depression is a multi-generation issue that God actually care enough about to put encouragement in the Bible for us to reflect on.
Reading it now through the perspective of working towards overcoming depression was such a revelation!
Let’s take it section by section: (All versions are from the Passion Translation.)
“Lord, listen to my prayer! Listen to my cry for help! You can’t hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Stoop down to hear my prayer and answer me quickly, Lord!”
Do you hear me, God? I need help! Like, please just fix this already! (I apparently talk to God like a 12 year old “valley girl”. Or should I say “VSCO girl”)
“For my days of happiness have gone up in smoke. My body is raging with fever, my heart is sick, and I’m consumed by this illness— withered like a dead leaf. I can’t even eat.
I used to be easy-going and care-free, now I don’t know if tomorrow will be a good day or a depressed day. Will I have energy or just need sleep? Will I be kind or too exhausted to have any patience? My heart, soul, and body feel weak and empty. Sometimes I feel so selfish in my desire for energy, it consumes my thoughts. I know I should care about other things. I just don’t seem to be able to shake this.
“I’m nothing but skin and bones. Nothing’s left of me but whispered groans. I’m depressed, lonely, forgotten, and abandoned. I’m sleepless, shivering in the cold, forlorn and friendless, like a lonely bird on the rooftop. My every enemy mocks and insults me incessantly. They even use my name as a curse to speak over others!”
My take: Okay, so actually part of my stupid brain reads this and thinks, “man I wish that were semi true about the skin and bones part.... then I’d at least be skinny. (So stupid...I know. So let’s just move right along.)
I feel so alone! Who do I reach out to at 2am when I’m lying awake knowing if I sleep now, tomorrow might be better. But on the other hand if I fall asleep now I won’t have enough sleep to feel good tomorrow anyways. I just need someone to make it better. Help! No one wants to be bothered with something they and I both know they can’t actually fix for me anyways. Will my friends eventually get tired of hearing about “Shilah and her depressing nonsense”? (Also, note to self: no more coffee after 1pm!)
Because of your great and furious anger against me all I do is suffer with sorrow, with nothing to eat but a meal of mourning. My crying fills my cup with salty tears! In your wrath you have rejected me, sweeping me away like dirt on the floor.
Are You angry at me God? Why haven’t You taken this away yet? Why do I still have random down days? Why can’t I sense You near? Why aren’t You speaking to my heart sweet words of comfort that transcends my pain?
I cry. Alone. Then, when I cry I feel worse. Headaches. Can it just be over? Just throw me away already. I’m useless in these moments. (Total side note: head ease essential oils are bomb for these types of headaches! And yes I am so old I say “bomb”.)
“My days are marked by the lengthening shadows of death. I’m withering away and there’s nothing left of me.”
Is tomorrow going to be a good day or a bad day? The anxiety of the unknown is exhausting.
“But then I remember that you, O Lord, still sit enthroned as King over all! The fame of your name will be revealed to every generation.”
My take: But! Even through all that I'm dealing with, I get a glimpse of your power. I get reminded of your glory! You are for me not against me! You’re not a God just for the days of old. But for my generation! You knew today and tomorrow would come! You know all throughout all time and all generations. You know me! You know what I need! You are all powerful and have everything I could ever need at your disposal! It’s not about me and what i can overcome on my own! I’m not enough even on a good day by self anyways but with the King on my side I can face tomorrow! I can fulfill my life’s calling!
“I know you are about to arise and show your tender love to Zion. Now is the time, Lord, for your compassion and mercy to be poured out— the appointed time has come for your prophetic promises to be fulfilled!”
I know and have experienced Your grace and anointing before and I will see it again! I trust that You will arise in me greater than depression. I may feel weak, useless, and empty but I know You can fill in all of my inadequacies! Now! Now, I trust You! I trust You will take me through anything! With You all things are possible! Healing. Wholeness. Wellness. Sound mind. These are Your promises! I trust and believe and will focus on Your promises!
So ya, depression and anxiety were happening even back in the Bible. God has already been there and done that! He’s not shocked that this hit me. He’s not shocked you’re dealing with depression. He’s got promises already given to us to help us overcome!
The Passion translation calls this passage “from tears to praise”.... makes sense to me!
I challenge you to read this passage and think about how you would say/rewrite these things to God.
By the last two verses I read (and rewrote in shilah translation) I could sense a peace and rest come over my emotions and thoughts.
God is so freaking awesome that when I focus on Him the depression fades!
You might be crying right now but I promise you, you’ll be praising Him when you see the greatness of God and His love, mercy, and grace He has stored up for you!
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