From the Depths of Depression
By Michael Youssef, Ph D. 04/28/21
While many men and women of the Bible sought earthly contentment apart from God, there were others whose unsettled lives ultimately drove them into the Lord’s presence. Their wandering led them in the opposite direction of their ancestors. They ran to God instead of away from Him.
David, in all the upheaval of his life, was constantly running to God. Even with all his candid questions and passionate expressions of vulnerability, we don’t sense that David ever lost faith in God’s power to make things right. What may surprise you is that David, a man of faith, appeared to have several bouts with what modern psychologists would label depression.
Even though an estimated 10 percent of the U.S. population is affected by depressive illness at any given time, Christians often are ashamed to admit they are enduring their own dark periods of despair. The life of David, however, teaches us that every person, even those who trust God, at some point enters a dark valley. In fact, almost anyone who responds to the call of God will one day face doubts and questions, difficulties and trials, that will lead him or her through the door of depression. Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet” because he anguished over the sins of God’s people and the judgment he saw coming as a result of their disobedience. More than once he withdrew in defeat and asked God why he had even been born.
Like Jeremiah and other dedicated servants of God, David experienced similar bouts of depression (see Psalm 42, 43, 63). Yet his hunger for God, even in the pit of despair, is a vivid demonstration of the Biblical response to depression. If we are willing, we can turn our despair into a passionate pursuit of God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess that at times I have been overwhelmed with feelings of despair. But I draw hope from the example of Your servant David, who continued to seek You even in the darkest valley. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:5).