Every year nearly 20 million adults are affected by some form of depression, making it one of the most common mental health problems in the United States. Depression can be debilitating and may lead to even more serious disorders, such as suicidal tendencies and extreme anxiety.
The good news is that there are a number of Bible verses for depression. Though the word “depression” is not a biblical word, depression in the Bible is often referred to by terms such as “downcast,” “brokenhearted,” etc. If you suffer from it, then meditating on the following Scriptures for depression could help you move through it to the light on the other side.
8 Bible Verses for Depression
Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. – Psalm 143:7-8
In this psalm, David feels lost and helpless and on the edge of death. He feels a sense of desperation that only God can help him to overcome. Rather than wallowing in his misery, however, he cries out to God, looking to Him for guidance, trusting that He will help.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:17-18
When you feel overwhelmed by your circumstances, as if you are being crushed beneath the load of the troubles you are experiencing and you don’t know where to turn, David teaches us that God hears the prayers of His people.
Not only do we have the promise that God will hear us when we cry to Him for help, we read that God comes alongside those who are downcast and depressed and saves them. He does this by giving them Himself. His grace is the answer to our pain.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:11
In this verse, we see that David is in a depressed and sad condition. He describes his soul as “downcast” and “disturbed.” Rather than remaining in his depressed condition, he engages in self-talk to help himself get out of his funk.
When we find ourselves in a depressed state, self-talk can be a good way to fight our way free. Not just any self-talk will do, however. It must be self-talk that recognizes God as our reference point and Savior. We can know that our downcast state is temporary because God is our hope.
…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31
Sometimes, despite our best efforts at getting ourselves back into a proper frame of mind, we find that we just can’t pull it off. Isaiah, however, reminds us that if we wait on God we will eventually be rewarded with renewed strength.
This is not primarily referring to physical strength (although that may be in view as well) but is a metaphor for emotional and spiritual strength. The kind of waiting on God that Isaiah is talking about is not a passive resignation, but a whole-souled trust that God will bring healing and help.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
Since the dawn of time, when our first parents sinned by eating the forbidden fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden, humankind has been saddled with a load of toil, cares, and sorrows. We have been unable to escape the load that we placed on our own backs, and every generation since Adam and Eve has both carried and added to this miserable burden.
In this passage, however, Jesus promises gentle rest to those who come to Him weighed down by the burdens and toils of life. Are you tired of your depression? Come to Jesus to find rest. Are you carrying a heavy load of care and worry and sadness? Come to Jesus to find relief.
He only requires that you humbly come to Him as you are, and He will bring about the change to your life. You will learn His ways as you continue on in discipleship (His yoke) and obedience to His teaching (His burden) and you will “find rest” for your soul.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
This passage teaches us that there is absolutely nothing that can separate the Christian from God’s love – no created being, distance, the future or the now, or even death itself.
This is a great and precious promise for those who are suffering from depression. Even when in the depths of despair, we can rest in the knowledge that God both knows where we are and loves us in spite of all of our failings.
Are you down and depressed? Remember that God loves you and that even the most extreme aspects of creation cannot come between God and His people.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. – Psalm 36:9
When suffering from depression, people often find things so dark that they want to die. David, however, tells us that God is the source of both life and light. Not only so, but God is the light in which we can see and experience light.
This means that God is our ultimate reference point. When depressed, this verse can be a comfort as we turn to God in faith. We cannot expect to live joyfully in God’s world without orienting our lives on Him.
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. – Psalm 3:3
When depressed and in despair, we can meditate on the truth that God protects His people from ultimate despair. As bad as things can get at times, God keeps His people and provides them health and happiness, sometimes in this life, and ultimately in the life to come.
God has given us His written Word to provide us guidance in this world. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
This means that no matter what our condition or mental state, the Bible is a source of help. If you are suffering from depression, meditation on Scripture verses can provide comfort and a needed corrective to despairing thoughts and bad thinking.
Of course, depression can require more than just a change of mind (sometimes it may require medication), but it doesn’t need less. If you are struggling with depression and find that you cannot overcome it on your own, seek help in the form of a pastor or a trusted friend.
If these are not available to you, counseling is the next step. A professional Christian counselor will come alongside and help you through the dark, showing you the light of God’s Word and the comfort of His love. Get help today!
“Depressed”, Courtesy of Dmitry Schemelev, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Downcast”, Courtesy of Chad Madden, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Heavy Laden”, Courtesy of Panos Sakalakis, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Light of Heaven”, Courtesy of Chad Greiter, Unsplash.com, CC0 License