Can Christians Get Depressed?
A while back, I had a conversation with someone on Twitter about depression. He didn’t believe you could be a Christian and be depressed. He thought that if you were depressed, you never really had any faith in God. No matter what I said, he wouldn’t change his mind.
I searched more on social media and found that many people feel this same way. They believe that if you are really saved, you would have no reason to be that unhappy. Because God is good and loving, there is nothing to be depressed about. They may even say that people are depressed because of sin in their lives.
Then I found that there are people who believe depression is just a normal illness like a cold or the flu. They think that depression is something you can just “get over” after a period of time. To them, you’re not wrong for being depressed, but it’s not a big deal either.
In today’s culture, I can’t even blame people for thinking this. It is completely normal in to claim to be depressed. People toss the word around when they are merely sad about a particular situation they are in. They don’t understand the true meaning of it. This makes it hard for people who truly have depression to admit it and seek help.
Of course, there are people in the middle who aren’t sure what to think. Either way can seem logical, depending on the information being presented to them. But that still leaves the Christians who actually live with depression. Many feel guilty or confused because it’s hard for people to relate to what they’re going through. They hear that they’re wrong to feel the way they do, or that their problem is nothing serious.
I am a Christian with depression.
Many people don’t know that I struggle with depression. I have dealt with it for years, but not as long as I’ve been a Christian. So I’m expected to believe that one day I was a Christian and the next day I wasn’t just because I was depressed? Or was I never a Christian in the first place? I still remember the day I got saved as a young child. I also remember the day I rededicated my life to God. Both instances were genuine, and they changed my life. Yet I’m still depressed.
I am not alone, and neither are you.
Fortunately, I can look in the Bible for examples. Even some of the great heroes of the Bible struggled with depression. The first one I always think of is Job. He was blameless in the eyes of God, but he lost everything and developed poor physical health. He wished he had never been born (Job 3:11) and he questioned why people who want to die are given life (Job 3:20-21). In chapter 9 he admits that he despises his life.
We can look at David, who God called “a man after my own heart” in Acts 13:22. Yet there are many instances in Psalms where David talks about his great sorrow. In Psalm 6:6, he says, “I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.”
1 Samuel 1 tells us about Hannah, one of the two wives of Elkanah. Hannah couldn’t have children, but the other wife did and would provoke Hannah about it to irritate her. This went on so long that Hannah became depressed over it. Verse 7 tells us that she couldn’t eat, and in verse 10 says, “In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.”
If even godly people from the Bible experienced depression, I don’t feel so bad about it. The problem with depression isn’t necessarily sin or a lack of faith. This belief alienates those who genuinely need help. However, it is important to make sure that your depression doesn’t result in these things.
In Job 42:2-6, Job repents. These verses show that Job still has not lost his faith, even after he lost everything and became deeply depressed.
In Psalm 13:1-6, David cries out to God, asking how long he will continue to suffer. But then his prayer changes, and he praises God for loving him and being good to him.
In 1 Samuel 1:20, Hannah becomes pregnant with a son after pouring her heart out to God.
Is there healing?
Even Christians need help sometimes. The main thing you should be doing is talking to God about it. These people from the Bible all cried out to God. They weren’t afraid to tell Him exactly how they felt, and God isn’t afraid to hear it. Talk to Him and read His Word.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help though. There’s nothing wrong with finding a counselor. They can help you get to the root of your depression and help you figure out how to overcome it.
In some cases, you may need to look into medication. This solution is often advised against by Christians, but there is nothing wrong with this. When you get a cold, you take medicine. When you have something more serious like cancer, you undergo treatment. Taking antidepressants is no different.
The fact is, God can heal you. He still works miracles just like we read about in the Bible. Don’t be afraid to reach out and use the tools He’s given us for help.