Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, poet and hymn writer William Cowper, Mother Teresa, and contemporary author Ann Voskamp—each has been recognized for their devotion to Jesus. And each has also battled depression.
I’ve heard people say that followers of Christ can’t suffer from depression due to the joy we have in Jesus. Those who do, they say, suffer with it because of some sin. Others say depression can be prayed away if we simply have enough faith. But depression is complex and can be fueled by many factors including painful life circumstances, chemical imbalances, shame, and other challenges.
I speculate that the prophet Elijah suffered from at least one episode of depression. After he helped the widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8-24), he challenged the prophets of Baal and was victorious over them (I Kings 18:18-40). He also prayed that God would send rain on the drought-stricken land, and God did. Yet on the heels of God’s mighty and spectacular deeds, Elijah grew afraid and depressed when Queen Jezebel sought revenge and vowed to kill him (I Kings 19:2-4). As a result, he fled to Mount Sinai where God met with him. Notice the loving-kindness of God. He didn’t scold Elijah for his despair, but like a nurturing parent He took care of him by providing food and drink while Elijah slept under a broom tree (I Kings 19:4-8).
Maybe you’ve suffered from depression or know someone who has. Maybe you feel isolated and are hopeless. Let me remind you—you’re not alone. God cares deeply for you. He wants you to be whole. Please consider seeking medical care and advice and telling trusted people what you’re going through. You don’t have to suffer alone.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 5:1-16
Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 and consider the dark challenges Paul faced and the good that came as a result.
How might you come alongside those who are depressed? How can God use your pain, whether through depression or other struggles, to mold you and draw you closer to Him?