Coping with depression

“I have come that they may have life, and have it more to the full” John 10:10

The Bible tells us that God made a world that was morally and physically perfect. No one gehaved badly, and there was neither death or sickness. When man disobeyed God, it resulted in death and humankind has lived in the fear of death ever since.

What does the Bible say about death? What is God’s plan for eternity?

Why do I feel so empty and depressed?

King Solomon wrote, “I hated life … All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17. He knew that whatever we achieve in life is taken away at death. If we pass on a lifetime’s savings, they may be badly misspent. Even wisdom gained from bitter experience dies with us; each generation repeats the same mistakes and suffers accordingly.

All this is true but it is not the whole truth, and can leave us thoroughly depressed and even suicidal. We may have tried everything without finding satisfaction; nothing seems worth doing; life seems pointless.

What is the reason for life’s emptiness?

God put us in this world for a reason. It is not to please ourselves but to please Him. We are made by God and for God.

God made all things for Himself. He made man in His own image to have a relationship with Him. Humankind is creative because that is a characteristic of God. However, we make things for our own benefit. When we look for happiness and satisfaction without God we never find it. By seeking happiness instead of God, we miss the solution to our problem.

So what comfort can we take from that?

There IS a very real purpose for living but we can only get that sense of purpose when we give up living for ourselves and start living for the God who made us. We must admit our sinful failure and confess it to God. We must ask forgiveness in the death of Christ. Once reconciled to God we can daily know His fatherly love, and experience the abundant life that Jesus speaks about above Depression is a battle but we are told that God gives us everything we need ‘for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.’ 2 Peter 1:3. We need to battle with our mind and emotions when they tell us that what God says is not true.

One way to help ourselves is to learn verses. We can thank God that what he says is true.
We can also learn from the verse, and ‘not give up meeting together…’ Hebrews 10:24-25. When we are depressed, we often withdraw into ourselves and are reluctant to meet with others but God tells us that it is important to meet with other Christians.

Think about the times when you struggle most. For many, it is evenings or during the night. Remember Psalm 119:105, ‘Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path’ and 1 John 1:5 ‘God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all.’ Jesus casts out the darkness. Pray that he will help you at this time and thank him for the good things he gives you (whatever it may be – reading a book, listening to music or a podcast, exercise or something creative).

Do seek professional help from a Christian specialist/doctor if possible. Having depression is not an indication of the strength of your faith. There are those in the Bible, such prophect Elijah, who suffered depression and experienced God’s care.

Remember that you are not alone. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are interceding for you with the Father and you are part of the church family on earth too.