Can Christians Get Depression?
By Terry Villiers
When a dedicated Christian is overtaken by depression, it can be an even more challenging situation. Because along with the loss of self worth and failure comes questions as to whether God has abandoned them and whether there’s any eternal future for them. And all the while we may hold it together for appearance sake.
The first thing to realise is that the experience is not unique. Many Christians before you have struggled with the “black dog” of despair. The devout Abraham Lincoln was so overwhelmed by it that twice he came near to suicide. In the Bible itself we have the account of the prophet Elijah who became so depressed he prayed that he could die. And God came to the rescue for both of them.
It certainly is the case that Christians are subject to depression – just like any other illness. And although they will always need the medical help that is appropriate for their condition, they may also need some reassurance and counsel from a pastor, a close Christian friend or a specialist Christian counsellor.
Patience – a Key
The thing to remember is that there is always a way out, even when everything appears hopeless. Seek help sooner rather than later, as it generally takes as long to recover as it took to sink into it. Patience is an important key – with yourself and with God. Remember that God is as close to you as he ever was (in spite of how you feel), as your depression creates a wall between you and him. Yet this wall is only apparent; it is never real! Never forget that when you are going through such testing times, the only change that has taken place is in your mind.
God’s love toward you is constant. He never wavers or changes. Even though he may be seem to be totally absent, he is closer to you than ever. Talk to him; tell him how you feel; ask him to help you to find the road to recovery.
There is a Future
Make a habit of spending time with him every day. You can’t spend time in his presence without something positive rubbing off on you in time. God’s Spirit will replace your negative outlook with a positive one.
But as mentioned in the earlier article “The Solitary Sadness”, don’t think you can do it on your own. Always engage the very best help you can find. And ask for God’s help in that too.