Depression in the Faithful

There are natural laws that have nothing to do with being either “Christian” or “secular.” If a person goes beyond the edge of a roof, gravity pulls a person downward, regardless of beliefs or ideologies. Or consider a car collision, the law of “cause and effect” are the same for the religious person, as well as for the atheist.

There are laws connected to mental health, as well. So many things can affect one’s mental health: chemical imbalances, stress, grief, unresolved anger, guilt (real or false), lack of rest, hunger, loss, disappointment, etc. Christians are not immune to depression.

There are some Christians who speak condescendingly of believers who battle depression. After all, if those suffering depression had such great faith and spirituality as them, then they would not be depressed. James says Elijah was a man just as the rest of us (see James 5:17). There is no doubt Elijah was a man of incredibly great faith, who won a great spiritual victory on Mount Carmel (see 1 Kings 17-18). Nevertheless, afterward we read of him being exhausted, stressed, and hungry. This prophet of great faith fell into a deep depression. He felt like a total failure, and simply desired to die (see 1 Kings 19).

Was Elijah a failure? Does God criticize him for his depression or accuse him of lacking faith? No, but encourages the prophet to rest and to eat.

Are you feeling down today? Let me ask you, are you getting adequate rest? Are you eating a healthy diet? Perhaps you feel like a failure. I will venture to say that each of us have our share of both victories and failures; however, our redemption is solely based on Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. If we experience victory, it is because of His power. If we suffer failure, God does not withdraw His love. He gives us a wonderful promise of forgiveness in 1 John 1:9. Furthermore, because of what Christ has done, we can approach God’s throne of grace with confidence (see Hebrews 4:16; 10:19).

Perhaps you are one to look down on those dealing with depression. Be grateful you have not been brought to the edge of despair. And know this, the Lord can easily strip you of such smugness and allow you to feel what others feel in order to teach you empathy. Each of us are dependent on His strength and grace.

Be encouraged. You are loved!

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