Depressed Believers Are Not New: 5 biblical figures who battled depression, too
Article By Lynn Davis // EEW Magazine // Mental Health
Are you a Christian and depressed, and feeling like you’re alone? Well, you’re not! Countless believers have—in current times and throughout the course of history—battled depression.
If you’re wondering who in scripture you can relate to at your lowest points, EEW Magazine Online is pointing you toward 5 biblical figures that struggled with depression and still fulfilled their life’s purpose with the help of God.
But first, let’s briefly look at Charles Spurgeon, one of history’s greatest Christian preachers whose sermons still resonate today. Did you know he was depressed, too? He sure was and even opened up about his own harrowing journey.
Spurgeon once said, “I find myself frequently depressed—perhaps more so than any other person here. And I find no better cure for that depression than to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and seek to realize afresh the power of the peace-speaking blood of Jesus, and His infinite love in dying upon the cross to put away all my transgressions.”
He still managed to preach more than 3,500 sermons, depressed and all. You will do great things as well with God on your side.
Now, let’s get into these 5 women and men who knew what it was to have a dark cloud of depression hanging over their head in Scripture:
Hannah (1 Samuel 1)
Hannah was so depressed, she refused to eat. She deeply longed for a son, but could not have children. Making matters worse was her rival, Peninah, the other wife of Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, who was very fertile. And she cruelly rubbed that fact in Hannah’s face. Ouch! The barren, distraught woman, wept sorrowfully and took her concerns to the Lord. He comforted her and opened her womb. Hannah, despite her fight with depression, gave birth to Samuel, one of the greatest prophets who ever lived!
Hagar (Genesis 16)
Hagar was an Egyptian handmaiden of Sarah and Abraham. When this willing servant agreed to do something good and become the couple’s surrogate, things went left. After conceiving, Hagar fell out with Sarah and ran away into the desert. While she was out there isolated, God sent an angel to tell her “the Lord has heard of your misery” (v. 11). That word misery is a Hebrew word that also translates “depression.” Here’s the great news: Her depression did not stop God from pronouncing blessings over Hagar’s life and the life of her unborn seed, Ishmael. After that moment, Hagar said “God sees me”—and He sees you too!
Elijah (1 King 19)
After winning a great spiritual battle over the prophets of the false god Baal, Queen Jezebel put a hit out on Elijah. This left him fearful, defeated, worn out and depressed. He escaped into the wilderness where he hoped to die. “I have had enough Lord,” he said. “Take my life, I am not better than my ancestors” (v. 4). But God would not take his life, because there was more work for Elijah to do. In fact, God protected Elijah and pronounced judgment on and Jezebel who died a violent death (2 Kings 9:30-37). No harm ever did come to him at her hands and he worked many amazing miracles in the name of the Lord.
Job (Job 2)
Job lost everything: His family, his health and his wealth. The physical and emotional pain was so intense, this righteous man, who had served God faithfully, was even told by his own wife to curse God and die (Job 2:9). Things were so messed up, Job wished he were dead. “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” he asked (Job 3:11). He even said he hated his life (Job 10:1)! But yet, he didn’t give up hope, and when it was all over, God gave Job double what he had before.
Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20)
Jeremiah, who struggled with fits of depression, was called “the weeping prophet” and suffered from feelings of isolation, rejection and discouragement. As God’s messenger, he was required to sometimes deliver tough messages to the rebellious people of Judah. So he was strongly disliked, ridiculed and the target of intense attacks (vs. 7-10). At times, he wanted to quit the ministry! In Jeremiah 20:14, he said, “I curse the day I was born! May no one celebrate the day of my birth.” Then, in verse18, he asked, “Why did I ever come out of the womb?” But the Lord preserved Jeremiah, ministered to him and strengthened him—and made his purpose for living crystal clear. The Lord will do that in your life also.
Listen, depression is not uncommon, nor is it new or un-Christian. Battling with it does not make you weak, unspiritual or guilty of doing something wrong. It simply makes you human and eligible for even greater grace, compassion and comfort.
Hope in God. Cling to Him. He will never let you go of your hand, but will safely lead you to your place of destiny.