Many are facing mental health struggles today. Most of us would have friends and loved ones around us who are dealing with these struggles, and some of us are even struggling ourselves.
It is a good thing that awareness about mental health issues has improved, and we wanted to bolster this by providing insight into mental health struggles through the lens of faith.
How does God come into the picture when we face anxiety or depression? Where does faith factor into our mental health struggles? For answers to questions like these, we have to go back to the Bible.
The Bible acknowledges the reality of depression
Depression is not a modern struggle. While the term “depression” only came about in the nineteenth century, experiences and struggles with depression aren’t foreign to many people in the Bible.
King David, for instance, expressed deep anguish in Psalm 38:
“I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes.” (Psalm 38:6-10)
So, the Bible does not shy away from talking about people who went through extreme mental anguish.
We see it in the lives of people like David, Elijah, Isaiah, Job, Jonah and many more.
Indeed, Scripture goes to great lengths to describe their pain.
One reason is so that we may be assured that we are not alone in facing mental health struggles and that God is ever-present and still in control.
The Bible promises God’s presence for those who are suffering
Depression affects us on a mental, emotional and psychological level. It sometimes makes us feel that God is far or even absent, especially when we are deep in the darkness.
Beyond the professional and medical treatment we should seek out for ourselves, there is also much spiritual help available.
The Bible promises that God is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), and that His grace is sufficient for us even in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
When our experiences and feelings seem to differ from what God says, will we choose to hold on to the Word of God?
The Bible encourages us to trust in God’s sovereignty
“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25, NKJV)
Depression can be a long-term struggle. While some will manage to see recovery in their lifetime, others may deal with it as a lifelong struggle.
When the struggle seems long and hard, the Bible is full of promises that remind us that God is present and in control and He is still doing a good work in our lives even though we may face painful things.
Even if we can’t see how things are working out based on our human understanding, we can rest in the assurance that our sowing with tears will reap harvests of joy (Psalm 126:5).
Praise God that He will carry on the good work in us to completion until we see Jesus face to face (Philippians 1:6).
The Bible reminds us that there is hope
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)
Ultimately, it is important to remember that beyond finding a breakthrough for ourselves, our real hope lies in Jesus.
The truth is, we might not be able to make sense of our struggles with depression fully.
Some of us might not know how these struggles came about, and some of us might not know whether we can see a full recovery in this lifetime.
Even so, we can still find hope in God because the pains of our lives on this earth are not our final destiny (Philippians 3:20-21).
Because Jesus died for us on the cross, saved us from our sins and rose again from the dead — our future is secured. Our eternity is secured.
We know that no matter what we go through in this life, we will one day see Jesus face to face.
When we are with Jesus, there will be no more tears, no more pain and no more death (Revelation 21:4).
While we are still in this in-between, may we never stop putting our hope in God, and continue to praise Him for what He has done.
For more on mental health:
- What is God saying to you through this article?
- What is one truth or principle you can hold on to when you face anxiety, depression or a challenging season?
- Do you know anyone who struggles with depression? How can you be a blessing to them today?