You might be surprised at the number of people in The Bible who struggled with depression.
In the Old Testament we have a lot of people with difficult circumstances:
1. Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ruth, suffered the death of her husband and two sons.
2. Jonah, ran from God, was spit out from the belly of the whale and watched Israel’s enemies repent and receive God’s forgiveness.
3. Job, lost his property and family.
4. Jeremiah, is known as the weeping prophet as he watched the nation of Israel go into captivity. The Book of Lamentations describes this situation.
In the New Testament we have two examples of people depressed over difficult circumstances:
1. Paul who shows his depression over the fact that his fellow Jews were rejecting Christ. He is also acknowledges his depression over a thorn in the flesh, a possible physical ailment or spiritual condition that he cannot get over.
2. Jesus was certainly depressed because of those who rejected him and his teachings. Mark 14:32-34, They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
If Jesus, the son of God, can be depressed then so can I.
Most of us think that if we just had all our wants and needs met that we would be happy. Just make us rich, or royalty and all our problems would cease.
But this did not work for the first three Kings of Israel; Saul, David and Solomon all suffered from major battles with depression.
Saul, David and Solomon were depressed for many of the same reasons that people are depressed today.
1. Saul had it all and then he lost it. He was king until God rejected him due to his disobedience. David had gained the adulation of the people and God’s favor. Saul knew that God had chosen David to replace him. Saul was depressed because of an unfavorable comparison of himself to David.
2. David had several reasons to be depressed. King Saul sought to kill him. His first child by Bethsheba died. His son, Absalom, tried to take his kingdom from David. Perhaps his greatest source of depression was due to his own bad behavior. David committed adultery and murdered an innocent man attempting to cover up his sin. His sin led to a cover-up of massive proportions. Then everyone found out and his embarrassment was monumental.
3. Solomon seemed to have everything going for himself. He had wine, women, and song. He could pursue pleasure and knowledge to his heart’s desire. His kingdom was peaceful and prosperous. Solomon was depressed because it was all meaningless. He was searching for significance. Why was he created, what was his purpose? Surely there was more to life than sex, booze, and intellectual satisfaction.
So when I find myself depressed I know I am in good company with my heroes of faith.
Next Tuesday I will be writing about some strategies in response to depression.