Christian Depression and Mental Health

Christian depression man standing alone in a desert

There are so many among us who are wrestling with loneliness and depression. Let’s search God’s Word for answers. 

Heads Up!

This month’s Biblical Pursuit is a very difficult topic to discuss. Our team highly recommends that this article is read and discussed as a family. Christian mental health is a very real issue to be addressed, so we want to prepare our loved ones in how to respond biblically.

Head

This article only begins to scratch the surface on what it means to have mental health problems as a Christian. There are many things that God has given us to better handle our mental health. Counseling, therapy, and taking care of our physical health all have an impact on our mental state. Click the button below to explore Focus on the Family’s resources on managing your mental health.

Christian Depression in the Bible and Christian History

There are so many among us who are wrestling with loneliness and depression. Maybe that’s you too. You may be asking yourself, “Is there any hope for me when I am depressed or anxious? Where can I go and what can I do?” If you or someone you know is wrestling with these hard questions, God’s word has powerful answers to explore.

So where do Christian depression, sadness, or anxiety come up in the Bible? Mental health appears quite a few times, actually! David many times, can be seen crying out to the Lord for deliverance from his downcast heart. An example of this is found in Psalm 43 where he says,” why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” Proverbs 12:25 mentions depression and anxiety directly where it says, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”

Christian depression can also be seen elsewhere in history. Spurgeon, often nicknamed “Prince of Preachers” wrestled with depression his whole life, and yet he managed to find hope in the promises of God’s word and the life of Jesus Christ. Because of his own experience with depression, he spoke many times on the topic and encouraged many who were dealing with the same struggles. In a similar way, know that your experience with mental health can be used to help others who are in the same or similar situations. 

Exploration of Depression as a Christian

We know that not all Christians are spared of depression and anxiety. Maybe you or someone you know is wrestling with it right now. How should we respond when we are feeling this way?  

One morning when Spurgeon was wrestling with his own depression he said,

“This morning, being myself more than usually compassed with infirmities, I desire to speak, as a weak and suffering preacher, of that High Priest who is full of compassion: and my longing is that any who are low in spirit, faint, despondent, and even out of the way, may take heart to approach the Lord Jesus.”

Despite intense spiritual depression, Spurgeon encourages those with similar experiences to run to Jesus. Run to Christ and trust in his promises to never leave you or forsake you. Know that he is with you in your suffering, and that he works all things ultimately for your good and for his Glory.

Looking to the Lord

As we read further in Psalm 43, David does exactly this when he says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

We see that the biblical pattern and response to sadness is to first look to the Lord for hope and for help. Alongside this, there are some physical things we can do too. In 1 Kings 19, the prophet Elijah is saddened because he was being hunted down to be killed. In this moment of despair, he cries out to the Lord and an angel tells him to eat and drink. Afterwards, he takes a nap and is strengthened to continue his journey. Are you getting proper nutrition and sleep? These factors can very quickly affect our physical and mental state, and are important to keep in check. It’s important to take care of the body God has given you, as it is deeply connected to our mind. 

Hope in Sadness

A great encouragement and hope for believers is that Christian depression will go away. If not in this life, then certainly in the next. There is a place that we will go where God will wipe away every tear. There will be no sadness or pain in this special place with God. This place is called Heaven. All who repent and believe in Jesus hope for the day when they can go to this place and be with their Heavenly Father forever. David says in Psalm 27, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”

David’s wish came true, and so will ours on that day when we go to be with God forever. Until that day however, we are not guaranteed this same security on earth. In fact, we are promised as Christians that we will face many trials and difficulties. This includes things like depression, sadness, and anxiety. Yet, amidst these trials we can find comfort that they will be used to push us closer to God and make us into better servants for Him.

Jesus is with Us

James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

When believers face trials, the reality is that God is using those trials to ultimately give us greater joy and form a steadfast faith that will not waiver during crisis. The beauty of relationship with Christ is not that He immediately takes away all our pain and suffering, but that He is with us in every step and gives us deepest joy amidst the trials.

Heart

Promises to Remember in Painful Times

When you find yourself in the darkest valley, run to Jesus. Our team encourages you to recite and remember these two promises of scripture.

Psalm 23:4 – “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.”

Hebrews 4:14-16 – “Since then 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 is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

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Continuing the Discussion

Mental health is such an important topic to discuss with others. If you find yourself in an unhealthy mental pattern, talk to someone you trust about it and consider counseling. There is no shame in getting help to better handle your thoughts an emotions. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, call us! Focus on the Family wants to help you in your walk. You can contact us Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mountain time) at: 855-771-HELP (4357) or [email protected].

Tell Us Your Thoughts!

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About the Author

Author:

Bret Eckelberry

Bret Eckelberry

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Please enter your area code, followed by your phone number, mobile phone preferred. Please use numbers only, no dashes or other separators.


*By signing this form I am acknowledging that I am 13 or older.