Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Reality of Depression in the lives of Christians

Relevant Magazine recently ran an interesting article on depression entitled Can "Real" Christians Be Depressed?, written by Mattie Germer. Having wrestled with depression some myself, I thought she had some good things to say about the topic. Here's her conclusion:
"Depression should be treated and can be put into remission through a course of psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy and/or antidepressant medication, supplemented by healthy doses of prayer within a loving Christian community. It is nonsensical to tell a depressed person that if he only read his Bible more or had better quiet times, his depression would surely be lifted. That would be like telling a diabetic that faith alone will regulate her insulin levels. Faith alone gives eternal salvation, but in the meantime, God has given us resources by which to make our temporal existences more palatable. Depression is certainly healed by the grace of God, sometimes directly and miraculously, but more often through the tools of His servants, like pharmacists, therapists, pastors and friends."
These are some thoughts I wish I would have understood in my early college days. Back then, I thought it was pretty abnormal to go through periods of depression. Thus, the guilt would pile on even more for not feeling what I thought I ought to feel. But there have been many in the Bible (as Mattie points out) and many great saints in history they have struggled with depression.

My favorite example of someone who has been used by God in a great way, but severely struggled with depression almost his entire life was William Cowper. He penned my favorite hymn of all time, God moves in a mysterious way. The reason I love this hymn (and most hymns redone by Red Mountain Music) is the deep-seated hope in God that is revealed so beautifully from those struggling with guilt and sorrow.

One final note on this subject. The biggest practical lesson I've learned regarding depression comes from the book (that I've mentioned before) called Spiritual Depression by Martyn Lloyd Jones. The idea is that we listen to ourselves for more that we speak truth to ourselves. We must constantly be reminding ourselves of who we are in Christ and that God loves us no matter how we might feel.


  1. Timely post in my life.

  2. gratzi for sharing...def a subject that i struggle with in attempting to describe the 'funks' we seemingly all get in. is a funk depression?? a funk that lasts 4 weeks or 4 days? is that depression? thats something i wonder, not knowing what others feel and how to compare it to myself. either way community (via God) surely has been the chief protector in my life.

  3. I'm pretty sure depression is just an indicator of spiritual immaturity ;)

  4. Thank you for your post.

    It would be interesting to hear how you think fellowship helps with depression--having other brothers and sisters in Christ who know how you're feeling and what a difference they make.

  5. Anonymous7:34 PM

    always remember God loves you unconditionaly even in the struggles of life whatever they are. He will never leave you or forsake you.