Tackling Depression God’s Way (1) By Babatunde Olugboji
Depression has been described as a major disorder. It is a common and often severe medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of gloom or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can diminish your ability to function at work and at home.
Depression affects over 300 million people worldwide and can have a huge impact on your daily life. Its symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may include the following:
- Loss of energy or increased weakness.
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech, serious enough to be observable by others.
- Feeling worthless or unnecessarily guilty.
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions.
Thoughts of death or suicide.
- Feeling of sadness or having a depressed mood.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, like watching soccer.
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or weight gain unrelated to dieting.
- Trouble sleeping or having too much sleep.
Depression affects you physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and relationally – and when you’re in the midst of a depressive episode it can be hard to find even a sliver of hope. Everyone experiences depression differently and there are a variety of different treatment options. The effectiveness of medications for depression varies from person to person, and as a result, medical interventions don’t work for everyone.
The good news is that the Bible, an unchanging, dependable source of hope provides a means of tackling this debilitating illness. In the Bible, we can find major characters and some famous heroes that experienced depression at one time or the other, illustrating that depression is not as a result of a sin you have committed.
- The most obvious case, of course, is Job, who clearly struggled with depression following his huge losses. Job lost his kids, his health, his wealth and other things. But that didn’t stop God from loving him. He was eventually rewarded for sticking with God.
- Jeremiah suffered from depression and feelings of insecurity, declaring: “Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed! Cursed be the man who brought my father the news, who made him very glad, saying, “a child is born to you—a son!” May that man be like the towns the LORD overthrew without pity. May he hear wailing in the morning, a battle cry at noon. For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever. Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame? (Jeremiah 20:14-18).
- Another prophet, Elijah experienced depression after his victory at Mount Carmel against the prophets of Baal. (1 Kings 19)
- The Psalms are full of David’s laments, indicating that this “man after God’s own heart” might also have suffered from depression. (Psalm 38, 42, 43)
Seeking God’s perspective about depression can help to alleviate intense feelings of sadness and despair. In the series we are starting this week, we will explore 5 key Bible verses for depression that can give you hope when your world seems bleak.
Have a great week.
Kingdom Dynamics, a weekly column written by Dr. Babatunde Olugboji, the President, Kingdom House, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, USA.
Join Babatunde Olugboji live on Facebook & Youtube every Sunday at 7am (EST) for an insightful time of The Word.