Though the Bible doesn’t use the word “depression” except in a few translations and verses, it’s often referenced by other similar words, such as “downcast,” “brokenhearted,” “troubled,” “miserable,” “despairing,” and “mourning,” among others. Throughout the Word, there are a number of stories about godly, influential men and women of faith, who struggled and battled through dark times of hopelessness and depression. Many of us may find ourselves struggling there today.
Does this describe you or anyone you know? Stressed, frustrated, anxious, trouble-sleeping or sleep-deprived, despondent, or sad? When God speaks, he does not normally do it through handwriting in the sky or some big dramatic event — he “whispers” softly to us as we sit and read or listen to his Word and spend time in prayer.
God has a way of changing our outlook even though our situation stays the same. He can turn our “mourning into dancing” and “clothe” us with gladness (Psalm 30:11, ESV). Jesus, alone, can put in us a “spring of water” that hydrates our souls forever (John 4:14). We cannot live life on our own. We need God and we need others. Recognizing that truth is the first step. Now, draw near to God through prayer and he will draw near to you (James 4:8), and then you will “find grace to help in time of need” (1 Peter 5:7, ESV).
If we slow down long enough to listen, cut out the clutter, and squelch the noises from our busy, distracted lives, we will hear Jesus say to us: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, ESV). “Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, ESV).
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: While depression can make you feel lonely, God is still there with you. And he’s not going anywhere.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: Although there may be difficult or dark times, taking time to be grateful and reflect on things that are good can lift your spirits.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: Depression can zap your energy and make it feel almost impossible to accomplish even simple tasks. But this verse reminds you that Christ is always there for you. Through him, you can find the will to get through even the darkest times.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: Jesus knows that you will experience difficult times. These comforting words can be a source of strength as you reflect on His love for all of us. Through faith, you can overcome the obstacles in your life.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: There are better times ahead. God has a plan for you, even if your current circumstances are proving difficult.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: Feelings of depression can be a heavy burden, and many people make the mistake of thinking it’s a burden they must carry alone. This verse serves as a reminder that Jesus is there to lift your burdens and provide relief.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: When you’re struggling with depression, it can be difficult to understand why you’re feeling certain emotions. This verse reminds you that the way forward is by trusting the Lord to provide guidance. Things will look up.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: This verse serves as a reminder of God’s love for us. Even in dark times when you’re confronting difficult situations, He is walking alongside you and guiding you on a righteous path forward.
“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: Depression can make you feel as though you’re weighed down. But no matter how troubled you feel, this verse reminds you that the Lord is always there to support you.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: If you place God first in your life and focus on him, he can help you find what you need to overcome all obstacles.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: Through previous struggles in your life, God has always been there. Even if you’re struggling with depression and other mental health concerns, God will continue to be by your side. This verse can empower you, and it reminds you that you are not alone.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: The vivid imagery in this verse is especially relevant for those dealing with depression. It truly can feel like you’re in a pit sometimes. Through faith in God, you can find stability once again.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: Dealing with depression can be scary. But this verse reminds you that with God on your side, there’s nothing to fear. You’ll find the strength you need to weather the storm by placing your trust in him.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
FOR APPLICATION IN YOUR LIFE: Even when you’re in low spirits, God still loves you.
If you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts and tendencies, please get help. Don’t try to face this on your own. There is hope and healing, and there are many who will journey through this trial with you. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time day or night 24/7, to talk to someone who understands. Or go online at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information and help.