Biblical Examples of Depression

God is very interested in the practical areas of our life, including emotions such as depression. If you look up at the word ‘depression’ in a concordance, you will not find many verses in the Bible on depression, but the concept of discouragement, despair, low mood, and depression are mentioned frequently throughout. In fact, some of the heroes of the faith experienced depression.

Consider the man Job and listen to what he had to say: 

"Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant my desire. I wish he would crush me. I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me." Job 6:8-9. NLT

"I hate my life and don’t want to go on living." Job 7:16. 

That's some pretty low mood right there! That's how bad things were in Job's life because of the many tragedies he faced – and he had done nothing wrong to deserve it.

What about Moses? Moses was a phenomenal leader but there were days when he wanted to die and kill everyone else in his world (Numbers 11:10-15). Have you ever had one of those days? 

What about Jeremiah? Jeremiah was called to preach but no one responded to his message. One time he said, “Cursed be the day that I was born (Jeremiah 20:7-18)!” Now that is what I call feeling pretty low.

David also experienced frequent times of difficulty and depressed emotions. Read a few thoughts from his psalms.

"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire." Psalm 40:1-2.

"Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again — my Savior and my God!" Psalm 43:5.

Have you ever been in a 'pit of despair'? Have you ever been discouraged or had a sad heart? David understands because he did too.

I've been reading through the book of Psalms over the last month or so and it's interesting to note that about one-third of the songs in this ancient psalter involve someone crying out to God because of the dire circumstances they are in or the severe challenges that they are facing. The other third of the psalms are songs of praise and thanksgiving, usually acknowledging that God has got someone out of trouble. And these are God-followers! How distorted is the thinking that believes that life is meant to be only bright and sunny days, with no difficulties. This is not reality.

Job, Moses, Jeremiah, David – these were not weak people. These were not people living in rebellion against God. These were not people without faith. Yet they went through experiences of depression that they had to work through.

Tomorrow: A Depressed Prophet