An interesting word, depression. Means to be lowered in spirit, dejected, weakened, pressed down, desponded, lowered activity, having feelings of low value, sadness and pessimism, having delusions of inadequacy and hopelessness. Comes from Latin words meaning ‘pressed down.’
Something to be aware of as even Christians get hit by depression at some point, especially if overworked, tired, going through difficulty, disappointment or illness.
Not particularly a Bible word but there are a number of examples in scripture that indicate people were struck by depression. For example, depression can hit…
Following exhausting hard work
Samson – that incredibly mighty man of God – was exhausted after killing 1000 of Israel’s enemies single-handedly (even though he obviously moved in the power of God’s Spirit and strength) and cried out to God: ‘You have accomplished this great victory …Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of these pagan people?’
God had an answer…he ‘caused water to gush out of a hollow in the ground … and Samson drank and was revived as he drank ‘(Jud. 15.19-20).
Even Elijah, that amazing prophet, who held back rain for almost four years and called fire down from heaven destroying false priests, became crushed in spirit after his incredible victory over satanic forces. 1 Kgs 19:3-4 tells us that he ‘was afraid and fled for his life from the evil Queen Jezebel.
Again, God had an answer. Just a gentle whisper of God’s comforting voice fixed him up (1 Kgs 19:12ff)! Elijah found himself recommissioned by God and sent out immediately on a new assignment. Even a little R&R in God’s presence is enough to get us refreshed and going again!
Following dark times and all kinds of attacks
Dark times drop on all of us every now and then, no matter who we are or how close to God we may be! David, the ‘man after God’s own heart’, was no exception. I fact, when you carefully read Psalms, you get the impression that David suffered quite a bit from depression. But he always ‘picked himself up, shook himself down and started all over again’ as he turned to God and drew strengthen and refreshing from him. For example, 2 Sam. 22: 29-30,’O Lord, you are my light: yes, Lord, you light up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale a wall.’
Following disappointments and troubles
Hey, being disappointed, especially heartbroken, over what someone did or said can hurt big time! But, again, God has an answer: ‘The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit’ (Psa. 34: 17-18).
Following heavy decisions and responsibilities
Even Jesus had his moments! Think about the awful agony he went through in the garden struggling with the knowledge of the torture he would soon be suffering (Mar. 14:33-34): ‘He began to be filled with horror and deep distress. He told (his disciples), “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” ‘
But Jesus knew how to draw answers and supernatural overcoming strength from hid God! ‘Abba, Father, everything is possible for you…I want your will, not mine.’
Depression is a real nasty!
Like Satan it endeavours to sneak up on us, catch us unawares and rob us of joy. If we hang on to it, it’ll flatten us – ‘de press’ – for days. It can lead to emotional and mental illness and tie up our thinking for weeks! We’ll go round the clock dwelling on even trivial matters and still not find an answer. It’s like a rotten spirit of death thing. Yet God always has answers…we ought to turn to him right away and get his help. See Pro. 3:5-8. Verse 8 promises, ‘You will gain renewed health and vitality.’
Good news for all
Revelation 21: 4 is good news indeed! ‘God will remove all your sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.’ That’s not just a promise to be outworked in eternity…it can be yours here and now! But remember…it all depends of you calling out to God, just like Jesus and the above guys did!