I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. (David)
My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. (David)
He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, Lord,' he said. 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.' (Elijah)
Job said, 'Let the day perish on which I was to be born, and the night which said, 'A boy is conceived.' May that day be darkness; Let not God above care for it, nor light shine on it. Let darkness and black gloom claim it...'
Cursed be the day in which I was born!... Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?
Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.
Depression is not new. David, Elijah, Job, Jeremiah and Jonah, Old Testament heroes, were famously depressed. Each one suffered great trials. Each one faced seemingly hopeless situations.
Only David clung relentlessly to hope. In their darkest moments, the other four did not.
The reasons for their depressions varied:
1) David was doubly depressed: first as an innocent victim and later as a guilty criminal.
2) Elijah became depressed after a mountain-top experience. When he came down from the pinnacle of victory, he was exhausted, fearful and lonely.
3) Job did nothing to cause his agony. Therefore, he was angry with God and desperate for answers. The religious reasoning of his friends sparked fire in the smoke of his depression.
4) Jeremiah, the Weeping Prophet, shed plenty of tears: both for Israel's coming destruction and for his position as the prophet of doom.
5) Jonah was a grudging prophet: reluctant to help the people who hurt his nation. Even three days in the belly of a fish did not cure his condition of unforgiveness... which led to his depression.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: even Jesus faced depression: 'And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His Sweat was like drops of Blood falling to the ground' (Luke 22:44). His disciples faced depression.
Sooner, later, or more than once, you may face it, too.
Like many of God's stars, perhaps you're a victim: harmed by people, losses or circumstances beyond your control. It's human to feel hurt and empty. Or, perhaps you're carrying a burden of guilt: weighed down by past mistakes.
Either way, brokenness causes openness: an invitation God will not refuse. David, the depressed psalmist, was also an eternal optimist. He put it this way. 'My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart You, God, will not despise' (Psalm 51:17).*
Consider one conclusion and two questions:
Conclusion: God's leaders suffered depression, overcame it and became stars.
Questions: 1) Why does God allow good people to suffer? 2) How can we overcome depression?
## Depression: David, Elijah, Job, Jeremiah & Jonah (Part 3)
* If you feel guilty about anything (who doesn't?), please read all of Psalm 51. Most likely, David played it on his strings and sang it to the heavens. Read it aloud as a balm for your soul and request for God's help: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+51&version=NIV
NOTE: This is a republished edit of a 2014 devotion series called, 'Depression.' You may see notes to 'Actors, Models & Talent for Christ.' If you're not a performer, don't be deterred. In truth, every disciple acts for Christ, models Christ and stewards His talents.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Depression series.