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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Where is God when We are Depressed? : The Bible and Depression

The bible does not try to hide the fact from us that actual depression exists. This is good news. As many of us have been lead to believe, we are not victims of some strange new malady. 
There are those who would blithely point to their favorite text and tell us that all we need to do is be joyful. Or tell us to "just get over it." That's not all that easy for someone suffering from situational or clinical depression, but there are remedies and helps. 
It is important that everyone realize that discouragement and depression are normal parts of being human. They are normal parts of every day existence in an ever-changing world.  
What does the Bible teach us?
First, God is Not Upset or disappointed in us because we become depressed

The Bible does not show God punishing his people for their sadness.  Rather, he acts as a loving Father for them and for us:

David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:6 NIV)
Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him." (1 Samuel 1:19-20 NIV)
For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn-conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. (2 Corinthians 7:5-7 NIV)
Second, God is Our Hope in the Middle of Depression and Despair

One of the great truths of the Bible is that God is our hope at all times, but especially when we are in trouble. That includes depression. The message is always clear.
When depression hits, fix your eyes on God, his power, and his love for you:

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9 NIV)
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 NIV)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." (Jeremiah 29:11-12 NIV)
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (John 14:16 KJV)
(Jesus said) "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:20 NIV)
For we live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians, 5:7 NIV)
Where is God in our moments of distress and despair?

He is always with us!
Next post...Practical steps to take for depression.


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