Depression is very real and can often feel like drowning. Personally, it was something even as a Christian that I struggled with for many years.
Does God help with depression? The answer is yes. God’s desire for us is to be free from pain and suffering, including depression. He feels deeply for us and loves us enough to bring light to whatever darkness we might be in. He poured out His blood on the cross for all pain, all sickness, all suffering, and all sin. It’s important to note that although Jesus bought healing for you on the cross, it might be a journey or process to get there.
We see throughout scripture evidence of Abba’s immense love that He has for us. There are multiple references to how He views our suffering, such as depression.
Does God Heal Depression?
Depression has a cure. God’s desire for us is to be free from pain and suffering, including depression. He feels deeply for us and loves us enough to bring light to whatever darkness we might be in. Here are several examples in scripture that show us how God feels toward those in depression.
He heals the brokenhearted, and bind up their wounds.Psalm 147:3
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.Psalm 23:4
O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper! You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.Psalm 30:10-12
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.Revelation 21:4
By choosing to partner with Abba in your depression, I believe you can be set free! It’s important that when approaching healing in this area, that we have a good heart posture. If we are not open and willing to receive healing then, God can’t move and do his work in our lives. So here are two steps to help prepare your heart for healing:
- You must have a desire or want to be free from depression
- Invite God into your suffering and allow Him to begin working in your heart
Both are crucial to being able to walk in freedom. But, before we can dive into the practical steps to overcoming depression, let’s first define what depression is.
What is Depression?
Depression is a human heart condition. It can be characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, and also feelings of inadequacy and guilt. According to a Christian counselor, Dr. John Henderson states that “Depression is expressed by thinking, feeling, and behaving in a way that is regretful of the past, helpless in the present, hopeless about the future.”
It’s important to note that having a momentary feeling of depression and living in depression are two different things. We all have those days, the ones where we may feel intense sadness, fatigue, or remorse because of our circumstances at the time. But, having those feelings simply because you are having a bad day, does not mean you are fighting depression.
There are several things that may look like depression but are not. Those are:
- Despondency (feeling downcast or miserable under the daily struggles of life)
- Remorse for Sin (the experience of godly sorrow, or feeling guilty over sin)
- Grief (grieving over a loved one, deep sadness for what has been lost)
Because momentary feelings like sadness or feeling down, are often confused with “depression”, it’s important to make sure you understand which one you have. Taking the time to understand the source of your depression, can help you identify the steps you can then take in your journey of healing.
Two Types of Depression
There are two types of depression, spiritual and physical. Each is very different, yet can appear similar based on symptoms. Here is some information to help you identify which you or someone you may know could be struggling with.
When understanding the cause of your depression, it is important to find out whether or not your depression is physical or spiritual. The cloud of depression that overwhelms you could actually be a spirit of heaviness. This spirit is referenced multiple times throughout scripture. Spiritual depression is real, and it can affect even those who have a strong Christian faith.
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”Isaiah 61:3
We know for a fact that there are spiritual principalities of darkness and Satan uses them to wage war in our lives and our minds. The spirit of heaviness is a demon—a personality that studies us knows our weaknesses and knows how and when to attack. Recognizing the identity of an enemy is a tremendous first step, but then it must be fought.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ2 Corinthians 10:4-6
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:37-39
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.Colossians 1:13-14
We see in these scriptures that we are indeed in a war. A spiritual battle. There is a fight in the spiritual realm taking place right now even as you are reading this.
Once you understand this, you can then learn practical ways to spiritually fight back and take control of your mind. Some ways to do this are:
- Meditate on scriptures like the ones above and pray: “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ – according to Your Word – I ask you to deliver me from any spirit of heaviness in Jesus name.”
- Take captive your thoughts. It is up to us to make our mind realize that it is our servant, not our master. Our minds are affected by our thoughts, so we must take charge of what we think. Take a moment to think about what your mind is thinking about. Ask yourself, “Is this thought of life or death?” And also ask, “Where did that thought come from? Is it from God? Your flesh? Or is it from the enemy?” If it is not of God then it’s not something you need to be dwelling on.
- Put on some worship music to saturate the atmophere and ask the Holy Spirit to come in and fill your mind with peace and bring you hope amidst the overwhelming feelings of despair.
It is also important to know that spiritual depression could be the result of an unwillingness to repent or face the guilt from sinful actions. Scripture says that is not good to hold on to or conceal sin.
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.Proverbs 3:7-8
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.Proverbs 28:13
To be free from spiritual depression, you may need to examine your heart and see if there is any unforgiveness or sin that is holding you back from living a life filled with hope and joy. To do this, you need to first repent and then trust in the forgiving grace of God.
Spiritual depression can be a means by which the enemy is attacking you or an indicator that there is sin in your life that needs to be dealt with. But, it can also be caused by physical reasons outside of your control.
Clinical depression is a form of mental illness. The medical definition of depression is, “A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed moods or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.”
A physical depression diagnosis is made when at least five of the following symptoms occur nearly every day for at least two weeks:
- Depressed mood
- Loss of pleasure in all or most activities
- Significant weight change or change in appetite
- Change in sleep
- Change in activity
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Diminished concentration
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Thoughts of suicide
Depression is often misunderstood as feeling “sad”. But physical depression can have complex medical conditions thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental triggers. Understanding the symptoms of depression is one of the steps to identifying whether or not your depression is physical or spiritual.
Though God heals without medication, it doesn’t mean that medication can’t be helpful. God gave doctors and health professionals gifts for the purpose of healing. And for you, medical help such as through medication could be the way God brings you healing. To read more about Christians and Anti-Depressants click here.
Regardless of whether you have physical depression, spiritual depression, or just have depressive feelings from time to time, Abba is there in the midst of the pain and the chaos of emotions with you. There is comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. He is there with you in the shallows and He is there in the depths.
My personal struggle with depression began at 16 and morphed into a full-on depression. I can remember a day where I cried tears of joy and thankfulness because I honestly didn’t believe that I would make it as far in life as I had at that time. I felt swallowed up by the depression and suicidal thoughts at that time, and it was hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
I would describe depression as an ocean. At first, when the water looks clear and inviting, I enjoyed the highs of the sea in my mind. But, then I’d have a thought or a doubt and the waves would engulf me in dark, misty turbulence, slowly dragging me into the ocean’s depths of darkness.
But in God’s mighty grace and his unwavering love for me, He kept pursuing me, even when I pushed Him away. Abba and I began the process of healing, one step at a time. He never left my side throughout the whole process. By age 20, I had allowed the Lord to heal me and change several ways of thinking I had believed for so long. And now today, I can say I am FREE from depression!
A student recently shared this story with me, “God showed me a picture of Him and me sitting in a boat on the ocean of depression that once used to drown me. I looked at my feet and saw all these anchors tied to ropes. I was puzzled and looked up at Jesus. He smiled and winked at me and said to look over the side of the boat. So, I did. I looked down, down, down into the depths of the ocean and saw something. And when my eyes adjusted, I realized that what I saw were people. They were trapped in hopelessness, anxiety, fears, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. They were in the very place I had once been. I heard Jesus say, “The very things that the enemy tries to take you out with, is the very thing in your testimony that I will use in you to bring freedom to others.” Together, Jesus and I began to throw overboard the anchors and pull up every person that was drowning into the boat.”
This picture has powerful meaning and is hopefully encouraging to you who may still be struggling with depression. Despite where you are in your journey of healing, God will use the very thing that the enemy meant for evil in your life, such as depression, for His glory, and for good.
The very things that the enemy tries to take you out with, is the very thing in your testimony that Abba will use to bring freedom to others.
I believe God can do the same for you. I hope that through reading this, you will gain a better understanding of what depression is, how God views it, and how He is with you despite the darkness you may feel trapped in.
Let hope arise, change is in the air. A new season is coming for you.
Can you not discern this new day of destiny breaking forth around you? The early signs of my purposes and plans are bursting forth. The budding vines of new life are now blooming everywhere. The fragrance of their flowers whispers, “There is change in the air.” Arise, my love, my beautiful companion, and run with me to the higher place. For now is the time to arise and come away with me.Song of Songs 2:13
God has a beautiful plan for you, beloved. He sees you and is filled with joy because you are His child. Don’t lose sight of hope because of the trial you are facing. Instead, ask Him to show you how He is using your depression to transform you and shape you into the likeness of Himself. There is nothing too broken that He can’t use. He wastes nothing. He uses everything for the good of those who love Him.
If you realize after reading this post that you need help, please reach out to someone like a spiritual mentor, pastor, or counselor who can help guide you in this journey of healing. If you notice that your depression is so overwhelmingly heavy that you don’t see a way out please call the following depression hotline:800-273-8255. These callers are trained and want to help you in your time of need.