Summary: This sermon deals with the topic of depression, what it is, it's signs and symptoms, biblical examples, reasons for, and how to handle it in our lives.
Spiritual First Aid
“Dealing With Depression”
I am not a medical doctor, nor am I a clinical physiatrist. This sermon series I’m doing is a treatise on various disorders and what the Bible says about them, from the reasons behind them to God’s prescription for them.
The reason I am even doing this is because I believe that while modern medicine has come a long way in helping to mend and cure what ails most people, it is limited in its ability. Even medical science has lauded the power of faith and prayer when it comes to healing.
What I have come to understand and know is that God is our ultimate healer, He is the Great Physician and has given us what we need, writing it down in His word.
Today I’d like to look at the medical condition of depression and how we are to deal with it, because if it’s left untreated it causes people to give up and fade out, or worse, enter into some really dark places.
When looking at the troubles we face, those words that begin with the letter “D” seem to be the most devastating (pun intended). These are what I refer to as the “Dreaded ‘Ds.’”
They begin with the physical “Ds” such as disaster, divorce, and death. And for those of you who are wondering, “Dennis” is just as disastrous, which is why my mother always said that if she had me first she’d have me last.
It is from these physical “Ds” that the emotional “Ds” spring. These include disappointments, discouragement, despair, distress, and discontent. These emotional “Ds” rob us of our joy, our future, and our hope. And it is these that bring upon us the biggest emotional disaster of them all, and that is, depression.
What is depression?
Depression has become sometimes referred to as the common cold of emotions, yet this is far from accurate. I see depression more as an emotional cancer than a cold.
Depression is a plague of epidemic proportions. It is one of the most prevalent disorders there is, and research suggests it’s caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, psychological, and spiritual factors.
Depression also ranges from mild, or temporary episodes of sadness, to severe clinical depression and can also co-exist and worsen other illnesses including cancer and heart disease.
Depression is also a disease of the soul and often flows from a lack of faith in God.
St. John of the Cross may have had this depressive mood in mind, or as it was more commonly referred to as “melancholy,” when he wrote about a soul’s journey to God in his treatise, “Dark Night.” Later it was ascribed as “the dark night of the soul.”
Depression literally is a spiritual darkness that blackens and blots out God’s love from a person’s heart and from their view. It gets us to the point where we feel like life itself has no meaning or purpose.
Signs and symptoms
Depression causes symptoms that affect how we feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.
Signs and symptoms of depression include persistent sadness and anxiety. There are also feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, and guilt. Those who are depressed also lose interest in everyday activities due to a decrease in energy or an increase in fatigue. Thoughts of death or suicide are often signs of depression.
Those who are depressed often display conflicting behavior, such as moving and talking slowly, yet at the same time feel restless and have trouble staying in one place. Their appetite and weight often changes, along with difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much.
Physical symptoms also manifest themselves in angry outbursts, irritability, along with aches and pains, headaches, cramps, and digestive problems.
Depression found in the Bible
One of the biggest misnomers and one of the most damaging is the belief that once someone becomes a Christian they should never be depressed. But believers can be just as depressed if not more so than the general population because we’ve got an enemy, Satan, whose really good at putting circumstances in our path to discourage and depress.
We see many stories within the Bible of some of the strongest men of faith going through bouts of depression.
One of the most obvious examples of depression was Job, whom the Bible calls blameless and upright, a person who feared God and avoided evil. (Job1: 1)
Job, however, faced a crisis of great magnitude caused by Satan where in one fell swoop he lost his children, possessions, and health. He became depressed and couldn’t endure any more of the suffering.
“Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant me the thing that I long for! That it would please God to crush me, that He would loose His hand and cut me off!” (Job 6:8-9 NKJV)