Psalm 142:6 Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low...
Depression - There is a great variety in the meaning to people. For some it means a low period, a day or two of unrest, a blue mood. For others it means the low points in their life when "bad things" happen. For some kids and young adults it is a fad. Everybody does it because it's the thing to do, and they can usually work themselves into the state when they so desire. Probably for some of these it has more to do with boredom than anything.
Then there are those for whom depression and anxiety are a reality beyond the understanding of those who have never suffered it. To some it is a recurring nuisance that disrupts and distracts on a regular basis, arthritis of the emotions if you will. To still others it is a loathsome disease, the black plague of their minds, perhaps tormenting them for months, or even years, at a time; perhaps coming at regular intervals annually. Some improve. Some do not.
For those with more anxiety than depression, it is an uncontrollable monster prone to spring at the most inconvenient times. Sometimes it's expected because of circumstances, other times it comes as a surprise.
To those who have been to the edge of insanity, or beyond, it is a dread enemy, a terror of the past and fear for the future. It is a robber of all joy and stability. For the deepest sufferers it is too often that which ultimately steals life itself from them.
No wonder then, with so many definitions in people's minds, that there are such widely varied opinions as to it's cause and it's cure.
On the extreme left we have the psychologists and psychiatrists telling us that they are absolutely necessary to us in dealing with these things. Those who would recover or be helped, they assure us, must submit to their theories, definitions, interpretations and, most of all, their drugs and counseling.
On the opposite extreme stand the religious superiors. Most of these will be in the Bible believing, evangelical, conservative, or fundamentalist categories. These would assure us (with their Bibles open or closed) that "depression is sin." "You are sinning against God when you are depressed or anxious," they stoutly proclaim. "There must be sin in your life. You need to repent and get right! Maybe you're not even saved!" They make little or no room for the needs of the body, soul, and spirit to all be treated. To their short sight it is sin or the result of it, and too often the only help they have to offer are the repeated refrains, "Stop worrying," "Give it to the Lord," and "Repent! Get right with God!"
Not surprisingly, God's word is moderate on the subject. It is "...Temperate; not excessive...not extreme in opinion...Placed between extremes; holding the mean..." (1) This is not to extol the imagined virtues for being a compromiser or "mugwump," as some might falsely assume. Rather, it is another meaning for the old adage about faucets, "Righty - tighty. Lefty - loosy." As with many things, if you go too far either direction - too tight or too loose - you will get into trouble. God's word divides right down the middle discerning between the emotions, the spirit and the body.
Only the Lord can go straight to the heart of the matter. Only He knows the heart. Man does not. (IMPORTANT - REMEMBER THIS.)
By the grace
of God, we desire to examine below:
(1) All definitions, unless otherwise noted, are from Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language.
Unless otherwise noted, all articles in this section are by Mary Stephens (formerly Van Nattan).
Job - personal loss, distress, affliction, merciless friends, self-righteousness
Jacob - troublesome family, personal loss
Naomi - personal loss, despair
Hannah - childless, tormented
Samuel - disappointment in man
Saul - disobedience, rebellion, an evil spirit
David - enemies, distress, overwhelmed, artistic temperament
Solomon - sorrow is better than laughter
Elijah - spiritual warfare, enemies, disappointment, the journey
Jeremiah - lamentations of a weeping prophet
Jonah - disobedience, bitterness
Paul - persecutions, distress, doubts/fear, burdens for fellow saints
Church History & Testimonies
William Cowper - doubt, insanity, suicide, deep depression
Isobel Khun - emotional distress, separation from loved ones
Resources Links primarily to other pages on our site.
Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Helps updated Jan. 2012
background & graphics by mary vannattan