Why are so many Christians Depressed?

Depression, even among Christians, seems to be rampant today; it’s as if some kind of emotional black plague has crept into the Church.

I read several blog posts and articles every day, but last week was strange; virtually every day I found myself reading posts and articles written by or about Christians battling depression. But by far the most heart-wrenching news of last week (regarding the impact of depression on Christians) wasn’t found on a blog or in a news article; it was a phone call from a close friend telling us about a friend that had committed suicide.

The young man that committed suicide was named Jordan and he was a very talented artist and musician and, more importantly, he was a Christian. (You can see one of his music videos here and his testimony video here). From what he says in the testimony video, Jordan had battled depression for most of his life, but he seemed to be winning his battle. I don’t know what occurred in his life that caused the depression to come roaring back; maybe only God and Jordan know the answer to that question. But, as someone that believes he is called to offer hope to the hurting, I feel that I must learn more about the enemies of hope. Whatever else depression is, it definitely qualifies as one of the greatest enemies of hope!

As I suppose it is with most people that are diagnosed with a terminal disease or going through other difficult trials, I’ve experienced some difficult days of depression. I don’t remember the order or the full impact, but I imagine to some extent I went through all of the so-called “Five stages of grief” (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). But I find myself wondering what it must be like when the most difficult of those stages, depression, IS the trial, as it was with Jordan and it is with so many others.

Despite having every aspect of my life turned up-side-down by ALS, I know little about the kind of deep and dark depression that Jordan suffered from. But, I know from reading the Bible and from my own experience as a follower of Christ, that Christianity offers genuine lasting peace, hope and joy. I wouldn’t be wasting my time typing these posts if I wasn’t convinced of this. Peace, joy and hope are definitely great benefits of the Christian life, but that’s not the “Good News” message that Christ commanded us to preach – Jesus didn’t suffer and die just to make us happy – “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1 Timothy 1:15) Salvation is the good news.


I think this is an important fact because many “seeker friendly” churches preach a message of happiness and prosperity and, if Christians don’t feel happy and/or prosperous, they can feel un-Christian. I cannot help but wonder if the “feel good” gospel message might be exacerbating the feelings of depression among Christians.

The New Testament is an education in how to be Christ-like. But unfortunately this “Narrow path” includes trials and tribulation. My trial is ALS and for others it’s depression. As I said, I know little about that kind of oppressive depression, but I’ve concluded that it’s every bit as crippling to the soul as ALS is to the body.

I don’t feel qualified to offer spiritual advice to those suffering with this kind of depression, but I do have some general hope-building advice for Christians.

The early Christians “…were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching (reading the Bible…) and to fellowship (getting together with like-minded Christians), to the breaking of bread (church/taking communion) and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)

One of my blogger friends has suffered from depression for many years. She told me that when she’s feeling depressed, she doesn’t feel like reading her Bible, going to church, getting together with people or praying. This is exactly why doing these things is so necessary. We must do the things our soul (mind, will and emotions) doesn’t “feel like doing” to build hope in our spirit – so our spirit can “preach” to our soul. The spiritual part of us preaching to the mind, will and emotions, isn’t some kind of spiritual schizophrenia; I see examples like the following throughout the Bible; “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him.” (Psalm 42:11)

God also comforts us through other believers; I see examples of this throughout the Bible also. As you can see from reading verses like the following, even the Apostle Paul and the disciples dealt with depression; “…we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within. But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus…” (2 Corinthians 7:5-6)

Like most of you, I didn’t know Jordan, but, as you can imagine, his family is really grieving his loss so please pray for them – “…pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on May 24, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 269 Comments.

  1. I’ve been seeking salvation for 30 years, and I still don’t have assurance. Partially because there are so many interpretations of what it takes to be saved, and even more the idea that I am garbage who deserves to go to hell (the Christian message). I never married, never even had a long term thing with a woman because I was obsessed with salvation.

    • Rob,
      Thank you for your heartfelt comments. Maybe you’re over-thinking salvation. After reading comments like yours, I’m thankful that I was Biblically ignorant when I made a commitment to follow Christ. I definitely wasn’t over-thinking anything when I made that commitment 35+ years ago 🙂
      Rob, at some point you have to believe what the Bible says about coming to Christ; this is what faith is. Here’s a copy of my “Christian?” Page. It really is this simple, Rob, just believe and follow God’s word.
      A Christian is someone who…
      Has admitted they’re a member of the human race; a sinner; “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
      Has realized that there are consequences to their sin in this life and for eternity; “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” & “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 6:23 & 5:8)
      Has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior (repented of their sins and committed their life for Jesus Christ); “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)

  2. Christians suffer depression when they don’t see the “Promises Of God” being fulfilled in their lives. When they struggle for everything. Joy is zapped right out of their lives. And attending church becomes a burden.

    • Thank you for your comments. I know there are several causes of depression, but I think you’ve definitely named one of the major causes.

    • I read this again today and you are so talented and have such an impact on so many. At the very least 200+ here. YOU have a profound ministry. I skipped church today and checking in here is my church! Thank you for always backing everything up with scripture. I just friend-ed your wife on Facebook and wanted you to know what an inspiration you guys are!

  3. It is so true, my depression was caused by other reason, but there are so many out there that do not recognise the symptoms. Great post and glad I found it.

  4. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    Trusting God is hard for us to do. I may ask God for help, but usually it’s after I’ve already made a mess of things. Or else, I didn’t think the little problem was worth His attention and it got out of hand before I trusted it to God. This brought to mind my own difficulties with depression, so I’ll do a blog on that soon.

  5. Reblogged this on The End Game Counts and commented:
    Suicidal depression … the invisible killer.

  6. Michelle Watts

    Dear Bill,
    Today Becky shared the blog you wrote about our son, Jordan, and his struggle with depression. I just now had a chance to read it. Thank you so much for bringing awareness to the “plague” of depression. You expressed it so well when you said, “…it’s as crippling to the mind as ALS is to the body.” Jordan knew the truth and hope of God’s love, but the disease IS crippling…and satan seeks to destroy us in any way he can. I am thankful that Jesus paid the price for us, so one day we can all be free from whatever it is that “cripples” us.
    I have read many of your posts, and am so inspired by your courage, strength, and faith. I have also prayed for you and your family.
    May you be richly blessed for ministering to us and sharing Jordan’s story of hope and ultimate victory over depression and death. He IS alive, and whole!

    • Michelle,
      thank you so much for your inspiring message of hope. I never had the opportunity to meet Jordan, but I mourned his passing as if he was a long-time friend (Becky has a way of bringing people together like that). I think about him often and when I think of him, I pray that God would continue to comfort you and all of those that loved and miss him. For me, Jordan is the face of a Christian suffering with depression. I look forward to meeting him in heaven.
      God bless you, Michelle.

  7. You are always an encouragement to me, Bill, as well as an inspiration. I am truly grateful you would take the time to visit my blog — not to mention write these profound posts of yours. I can return to them again and again , yet still find new insights. Blessings Always, A.

  8. Love your great post. It cause me to really think more about the enemies of “Hope.” Keep up the awesome work of encouraging other, as well as, giving them hope. God bless.

  9. Bill:

    I recently completed the 1st draft of my non-fiction manuscript. My wife is currently in the process of proof reading the material. From there she will write her very own chapter.

    The writing of my book has been a “life-review” process. As much as it is my testimony about the Lord who intervenes, rescues and redeems! The former unintentional. The later intentional. Either way, Father knows best.


  10. Bill: As a writer myself, I very much appreciate the title of this post: “Why are so many Christians depressed?”

    I certainly do not know the answer to the question. However, I did ask myself why wouldn’t any number of Christians experience depression in their lifetime?

    I can only truly speak to my own experience. I’m a three time, 26 year cancer survivor living with the late-effects (disease and chronic illnesses) from radiation therapy. I’ve battled with depression on and off since 1989. My coping or management strategies include: Bible study, prayer, fellowship, weekly dates with my wife, time with kids & grandchild, writing and cognitive therapy. Also learning to live in the now, even in the moment has helped to curb or even quiet anxiety.

    Here are two passages I cling to:

    But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

    A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”
    (Isaiah 42:3)

    Regards, Glen

    • Thank you for your valuable input, Glen.
      Your coping strategies are great. I really like that you’re intentional, as if you’re coping strategies are medicine, which they really are.

      • Bill:

        I was inspired to read “I really like that you’re intentional, as if you’re coping strategies are medicine, which they really are.”

        Your comment served as a reminder for me that it is God who has taught and continues to teach me to take intentional steps to overcome in Christ daily.

        Regards, Glen

      • So true, Glen. Being intentional is so important because the last thing that people suffering from depression want to do is the intentional stuff. We must commit to doing the things that help and not doing the things that hurt regardless of how we feel.

  11. Depression has been the major battle of my life. The Lord has been my sustainer through it all, saving me from the brink of suicide more than once. Depression can loom large for a long period of time, but it only takes a moment of listening to the lie that you’d be better off dead than in endless torture for suicide to take you over. The hesitation to be among fellow believers and read the Word is so relatable. But, oh, it was and is so necessary! I shudder to think where I’d be without the wonderful Godly people who prayed for me, held me up, and showed me His love. Do I still have down days? Am I human? But, I praise Him for giving me hope in my darkest hour, giving me another day to share it with others. As Christians, that is our ultimate calling. Thanks for shedding light on this important subject.

  12. I struggled really badly when I was a teen. I attempted suicide multiple times. I know what it is like. I know I wouldn’t have made it without Jesus saving me. I think God sometimes allows the hard things because that broken road leads us to the cross and to him. If we don’t find healing in this life we will absolutely find it in the next.

  13. How can you be a Christian and NOT be depressed is my question.

    • I’ve heard so many testimonies of people coming to Christ and overcoming depression and feeling real joy, peace and hope for the first time. Obviously you doubt these testimonies, Betsy.

  14. You’ve touched on a very important aspect of depression, Bill. Reaching out -to friends, God, family. The things we need to do to overcome depression, like so many other challenges in life, is often counter-intuitive. It’s scary to reach out. The flip side of the coin is many people are not safe people to reach out to, and their reaction to depression can cause a further nose-dive. It’s a challenging situation to be sure. I grieve for your friends…

    • Thank you for your insightful comments, Denise. I think one of the biggest problems with depression is that its victims just want to withdraw. This is why it’s so important for family and friends to keep trying to pull them out of their shell. Good to hear from you.

  15. Thank you for your thoughts. Surely ILS put a dark shadow on your life goals yet it seems you have turned it into a ministry. I admire you for that. You may be right on about the new prosperity gospel as one source of depression. There are many, I am sure. Jesus never promised us a rose garden. When the rest of the world looks like life is great it must be hard not to be depressed.

    • Great thoughts, Jean. It’s so important that we not compare ourselves with others. Or at least be realistic about comparing ourselves – compare ourselves to the vast majority of the world, which lives in third-world conditions.

  16. Wonderful post, it is so true that we must meet with other Christians and read our scripture when the depression has a hold. Only tonight I battled with prayer after a bout of depression. Prayer, the word, church, house group are so so important. I hope your friend reads these replies. Do it anyway, is what I always say, God bless, from graham the ramblingbricklayer. “where two or three of us gather” means we cant do it alone

  17. Thanks for this post on a crippling reality. I especially liked your comments about our ‘feel good’ Gospel, and how that emphasis might drive people underground who need to seek help. For myself, I’ve found that the tendency to blame the victim or to try to explain it away falls dangerously short of the kind of help needed. It’s also true that being a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, is no guarantee of anything when it comes to this and other debilitating realities. We don’t get a free pass.
    Praying you’re doing well in your spirit and with your family.

  18. I appreciate this article. Any awareness to mental illness or depression is needed. It definitely is necessary for people to be aware that there is more to depression than just being “self-focused” or being an unfeeling person. I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar 36 years ago. In the meantime I ended up with Kidney disease–kidney failure because of the Lithium I was on for many years. My liver is not healthy now and I didn’t do this to myself. I love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. I have put all this in his hands and he has blessed me tremendously. I am still alive after suicidal attempts in the past. Praise God for listening to my cries. Suicide is a huge thing now. More awareness is necessary. Thank you for spreading some of this hope of yours! I like your inspiration and I am following you now.

    • Thank you, Susan. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve also battled this monster. So glad that you didn’t succeed with your suicide attempts so you can be here for your granddaugher. God bless you.

  19. I think Church makes many Christians depressed.

  20. Depression hits anyone and Christians or any denomination are not exempted from this. Support groups and appropriate therapies/counselling administered by qualified psychologists can help alleviate feats of depression.

  21. Good job!! I agree with your blog. Thank you for all you write.

  22. I have been exploring your blog this morning and when I came to this article I almost did not read it. I am tired of reading “victim” articles. But I did and was pleasantly surprised. It is very balanced and has stimulated some very insightful replies. I am now following your blog. You are an encouragement to the rest of us! Your “content” life is a testimony to the power of the Lord Jesus.

  23. I always brace myself when I read articles on depression. Having suffered the illness (yes illness not a choice) for seven years of my life I believe myself to have some authority on stating what depression is or is not.

    I was taken aback my Nin’s comment most sepcifically, she does not state she actually suffered with depression or just a state of her lot when suffering from PMS, but to say “A child of God does not have to allow the enemy of their soul, the devil, to steal their mind.” Then she must state that also for anyone suffering any illness at anytime in their lives for example, “a child of God does not have to allow the enemy of their soul to steal their kidney, their lung, their brain, their thyroid, their nervous system” for…..

    Depression is not a mood you wake up with one morning and cannot shake off, or choose not to shake off, it is an illness an imbalance in the “happy hormone”, it is not a misery over your “lot”. It is no more a choice than having kidney failure, being involved in an accident, suffering migraine and so forth.. It is an illness which the sufferer has absolutely no control over.

    Depression, the illness that is, changes the very essence of who you are whilst you suffering in it. Whether taking medication or not, you look in themirror and you do not recognise yourself. That is not a choice and it has absolutely nothing to do with faith or ones “lot”. Depression is not focussing on oneself.

    Before suffering the illness myself I too had the opinion that it was a choice, that it was a case of snapping out of it and rejoicing in what one has to be thankful for, and that was before I became a Christian.

    I know of an elderly gentleman who was a highly respected member of my new church community, he is also the father of the friend who tried to lead me to Christ.
    He fell ill with depression prior to my becoming a Christian and so I did not know him before his illness but a few years later after much treatment including electro therapy, he stated that he could not longer “find God”, he continued to practise his habits of a lifetime, prayer, reading the bible, meditation on God’s Word, but he could not reach God in it all, it had all become a bit of an elusion. His faith was there, but he was lost.

    Depression is not a choice and it is not a lack of faith and it is not a centering on oneself.

    It seems to me that many hve heard the misuse of the term depression…someone who goes to work saying “if feel so depressed” because they did not sleep well, or something happening in their lives that has made them feel a little low in mood. That is not depression. That is simply feeling fed up with ones lot and that is a choice, to choose to allow your circumstances to dictate your state of mind, but depression is not like that at all.

    Forgive me, Bill, for what might come over as a rant, but having learnt so much from having the illness and that God uses all things for the good, I feel it a good thing to explain to people the true dynamic of depression and not the false concept of depression that people, who have never had it, hold.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Amanda.
      I agree with you – depression is not a choice. Who would choose it? But I must confess that, when everything was good in my life and I had no personal experience with depression, I did have a kind of “snap out of it” mentality to those suffering with depression.
      I think the thing that causes many people to label it a choice is because, as you said, the term is over-used and, I believe, over-diagnosed. The young man I mentioned in the post, had a long-time chemical imbalance, but that’s not the case with many people taking antidepressants.
      I am glad you’re winning the battle!

      • Thank you Bill, I no longer have the illness, it left in 2007 but I do have anxiety issues as an after effect. No meds. though. I think most people have a “snap out of it” mentality unless they have experienced mental illness in some way or another (either by having the illness, caring for someone who does or being close to someone who does).

        I agree with you about the possibility of many being mis -diagnosed. Watched a programme last night about young people with mental health issues. It was frightening. They are so quickly labelled, not always quick to accept their labelling and with some I felt very cynical about it being an actual illness as opposed to behavioural problems that needed addressing. Most referred to themselves as “mad”.

        I am so sorry about the young man in your post, his family must have been devastated. I so hope that they are not doing what many do in these situations and wondering if it was something they did or did not do!

        Thank you for all you write.
        God Bless and your family.

        • Thank you, Amanda. I am sure the family is blaming themselves to some extent – we always seem to blame ourselves in situations like this; I suppose it’s human nature. From what I’ve heard, they shouldn’t be blaming themselves at all – they spent years trying to get him help, like any loving parents would. It’s just sad; I just can’t imagine…!
          Anyway, so glad you are better and off meds etc.

  24. I’m reading John Ortberg’s book ‘The me I want to be – becoming God’s best version of you’ and he talks about a 6-month period of deep depression at age 40. In his struggle he was dying to a “false self…misplaced pride, ego, and neediness… the me I thought I was supposed to be”.

    Christians are often not real – with each other or ourselves – and that is a stressful place to be. Depression is anger turned inward, someone said. It needs to be wrestled with before God, so He can free and heal us.

    Thank you for sharing your life with others in this open, faith-filled way, Bill. May God bless you to wholeness – whether healed now or in heaven. His grace is sufficient and is strength in your weakness.

    • Thank you for your comments, Vera. That book sounds great; I just read some of the reviews on Amazon and added it to my “wish list.” Fortunately it has an audio-version, which is great for me. I will order it soon – after I finish reading the books I have. You should write a review on your blog.

  25. So many comments to read. Hmmm I will just leave mine.
    I was really impressed by what I read & truly moved.
    Thank for sharing Jordon’s testimony and song. It was very moving and touched my heart.
    We as christians a lot of times put a lot of our trust in other things, people, church, etc. I too have been guilty of that as well. The only one true thing to put ones trust in is God. He is the maker of all things. He carries us when times are rough. He makes life seem & feel a lot beautiful.
    I have grown up with struggles, an abusive dad. My mother told me about God & said he would be a friend for me when everyone else was not. Well I grabbed that like a life line. He’s been my awesome friend to the fullest. He has carried me to many heights. I have had joys & trials, which is expected in this world.
    My one joy yet to find is that ultimate partner. That high quality partner. As I know I am and have not been appreciated for. But God is faithful & just. I have become a high quality woman & one day I will find a high quality man who appreciates the woman I am. God has a plan & I am very confident in that fact.
    I am not depressed in the least which is a good thing, some might be. I have becme very confident. I thank the Lord for helping me for my struggles. Just so you know what I am saying is just what I am & have been going through.
    I am so inspired by your words Bill. I plan to read on. I look forward to your words of encouragement & inspirational thought.
    I have to blogs. One is a music blog with some christian music on it, along with others and the other well, just check it out and see. Just google “backalleymomma”
    Have a blessed day 🙂

  26. Outstanding, Bill! Such a tough ordeal for those who struggle with it. It has reared it’s ugly head in my life a lot in the last few months. Keep up the good words… You are making a difference.

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement and for your honesty about struggling with this, Rod. When I didn’t see a post from you in a while, that’s why I contacted you, I suspected you were struggling.

  27. Thank you for this moving and perceptive post. I am an abuse survivor and a Christian. Depression is one of the scars which has haunted me for decades. The power of this mood disorder lies in the fact it colors our view of reality. We see the world not through rose colored glasses, but grey. Not only do we “feel” depressed — hopeless, powerless, exhausted. We experience an unrelentingly negative inner dialog. We are worthless, life is pointless…or so we are tempted to believe. I doubt that Jordan was able to view himself as talented, though his talent was obvious to others. Our value in the eyes of God is not, however, measured by accomplishment. We are inherently valuable to God as His beloved children. This is in direct opposition to the materialism of the so called prosperity gospel! For some of us the valley will last a lifetime. But we will never walk alone. As Paul said, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair…always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Cor. 4: 8, 10).


    • Thank you so much for your excellent comments, Anna. Your following sentence is really powerful – “We see the world not through rose colored glasses, but grey.”
      I never thought of depression as a kind of emotional color blindness, but it makes so much sense.

  28. Great perspective, my friend. As someone who has battled with anxiety and depression for more than 10 years of my life, it is a battle. Depression attacks relentlessly and shows no mercy. The symptoms show up at expected times and also with massive surprise attacks. Sometimes they are weakening, causing me to want to stop in my tracks and most often retreat.

    I attempted suicide last year and there is no reason I should be alive today. We are talking tens of thousands of milligrams of prescription and OTC drugs. They said the hotel room looked like a murder scene because of all the vomit. I was lying flat on my back and it had shot UP the wall.

    I woke up in ICU to find my nurse, my wife, and my best friend. I was so ANGRY to be alive.

    Now, 10 months later, I am so thankful for that Warrior Angel who pressed I to my gut and made me eject all that poison. God has a plan for my life, and if I stay close to those who love me, and keep my knees bent and my head bowed before the Cross, I know that my healing will come. It’s little by little, but God is holding me.

    If anyone is struggling, don’t give up. Message me if you want to talk. iamsteveaustin@me.com

    (And I know you’re asking why I haven’t blogged about it yet…I think I am waiting for my one year anniversary…idk.)

    • Wow, Steve, that’s a powerful story/testimony! I am so sorry you got to that horrible point in your life – so glad you are still here and now in fighting shape! I am also glad that you are willing to help others get through this. I look forward to reading your post about this. God bless you.

  29. I think you make a very important point here about churches that seek only to “tickle ears” with messages of happiness and prosperity. I firmly believe that these types of doctrines are authored by Satan himself to “set us up” for a major fall.

    Nowhere in the Bible do we get the promise of a prosperous life for following Christ. I mean, if Christ is our model for living, how can we possibly believe that His intent for us was to live a carefree life of luxury. Did HE?

    The early disciples certainly didn’t live lives full of delight. Almost every single one of them was martyred in a horrible way. And even before their deaths, they didn’t exactly live the “glamorous life.”

    So, when someone gets involved in this “prosperity gospel,” it becomes this self-defeating cycle of:

    1. Believe so you can receive.
    2. Wait, but don’t receive.
    3. Question the concept.
    4. Be told you don’t believe ENOUGH.
    5. Rinse and repeat.

    Eventually, people get burnt out on such a cycle, and depression is certainly a side-effect of running in that “hamster wheel” of mendacity.

    • I agree with you about the perversion of the word “prosperity” in some churches. The good news is a universal message; if it cannot be preached the same way in the slums of India or Kenya as it is in America, it’s not the gospel message Christ instructed us to preach. People who are spiritually and physically starving, don’t want to hear about your big home and expensive cars, they want something that satisfies the soul.

      • Amen, brother. The gospel message is absolutely universal. The “prosperity gospel” doesn’t make sense to the vast majority of the world. Takes me back to Francis Chan’s sermon, “Lukewarm & Lovin’ It.” I think our own prosperity (in America) has made us tepid.

  30. As someone who suffered depression for six years as I became a Christian in 2000! I can assure you mine was not from false hope. However, I can tell you I have been through trials, since becoming a Christian that put the 45 previous years (as an unbeliever) into the shade. I watched a mature Christian man become so downtrodden because of depression and he certainly did not have false hope. He kept praying, kept reading his bible, kept attending church and still keeps going fifteen years down the road in constant depression, taking drugs and having endured two ECT’s. He said some years ago that he felt so far distant from God that all he does is say his prayers into thin air. Depression doesn’t have a format but the sufferer needs all the individual help they can receive.

    • “Depression doesn’t have a format but the sufferer needs all the individual help they can receive.”
      I think that’s the key, Amanda; Do everything possible to survive!

  31. Hi Bill,

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog and was immediately drawn to this post as I scrolled down your home page. Such a timely post. I have recently wondered the same thing: “I cannot help but wonder if the “feel good” gospel message might be exacerbating the feelings of depression among Christians” because, unfortunately. it does seem so rampant within the Church right now…or maybe people are becoming more open about sharing this in the Church…I don’t know. I know that I read about it often and also know, personally, Christians who suffer from depression.

    I am doing a study by Jennie Allen right now and something that has really stood out to me that she presents is the fact that we, as Christians, have all these expectations and ideas of entitlement- a big one being that we feel we have the right to always be happy and comfortable. This can be so easy to succumb to and is such dangerous territory since following Christ is not all about being happy and comfortable. As you said, God is so good to give us peace and joy, but this is not the end game.

    Thanks so much for writing this- such clearly communicated thought:)

    • I agree with you; I believe false expectations and a false sense of entitlement (among Christians in the West) is at least partially to blame for the “let downs” that can spiral into depression. I communicate with Christians in Africa and the Middle-east often and they seem more content than many of the Christians I communicate with in America and Western Europe. If nothing else it proves that money doesn’t make people happy.

  32. Love your blog. Your reasoning and love of God are wonderful.

    Pastor Stephen

  33. You certainly hit the spiritual nail on the head my friend. Jesus is the answer in every and all situations. When we do not “feel” like reading, praying, entering fellowship, etc is the most important time to force ourselves to do so. Although I’ve never suffered from strong and lasting depression, I have sunk into the doldrums and felt like giving up. The worst situation was when my wife and I had just moved to Oregon from California and didn’t have jobs. We got an eviction notice from our apartment manager. I called a friend who said he would send any amount of money we might need. I asked three times and the money never came.
    We found a local church and I shared our needs in the form of a prayer request with the pastor. I got lower and lower and then one day I was at my wits end and then the Holy Spirit spoke to me…Read the Bible and remind yourself of God’s promises and also who you are in Christ.
    I sat down and began reading. Within thirty minutes, I was revived. I called my wife in and said,”Honey, it doesn’t matter what happens to us. God is with us all the way. If we get evicted, it was His plan. Let’ s just praise the Lord.”
    Within two days, the pastor from our new church came to the office and paid two months rent for us. By the time our next rent was due, my wife had a job and one month later, I had a job.

    Thank you for reminding everyone of the hope found in our blessed Savior.

    • That is an inspiring testimony! Thanks for sharing that. We have many testimonies of how “God made a way when (in the natural) there was no way.” The great result (of these situations) is that God then uses us to help others out of these otherwise impossible situations.

  34. By the way, I have nominated you for the very interesting blogger award. Congratulations brother, keep up the good work. For details go to my blog and you will see.

  35. Blessings brother,

    I find this article truly intriguing, depression is definitely an affliction that can be overcome by the love of Jesus Christ Himself. I believe it is a God thing that I was led to this article because my dad was diagnosed and died shortly after from ALS. I don’t know much about the disease, however, I pray for you and your recovery. Thank you for sharing this article. Many blessings to you and yours.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your dad, Michael. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and for your prayers!

      • Blessings brother,

        It’s ok, it all happened that way for a reason. I was in prison when it all happened. His last wish was to see me in prison, all he was able to say is I hope you’re saved some day kid. That is the day I gave my life to God. The way I see it, my dad gave his life to save mine. Many blessings to you and yours.

  36. Bill, you have such a way with words. Love your posts and how you encourage others.

  37. Hi, Bill! I just nominated you for the Liebster Award, with rules found at http://wp.me/p2GxIs-8j. I know you don’t do awards, but maybe answering the questions would be fun. In any case, I have included you because I regularly read your blog, find encouragement and challenge there and want to direct others to your site to experience the same. If you choose to accept the award, just follow the guidelines – or skip the award and just answer random questions!….Blessings! Diane

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging message and your nomination, Diane! I really appreciate and am truly honored when people nominate me for awards, but I usually don’t follow through with the process because it’s kind of time-consuming (I have a hard time just keeping up with my blog and email etc:-) But I really do appreciate the nomination – thank you!

  38. I am so glad that you have found the peace that knowing God can bring. It took me a long time to find that peace also. But I know that as long as there is life that there is always hope and it’s wonderful how you spread that message through your own life.

  39. I am so saddened to learn of Jordan’s suicide. Before I became a Christian, I was hospitalized twice for clinical depression and made a suicide attempt. Thanks be to God, I have never been clinically depressed since then (over 35 years ago). The question is what causes depression? In my case, I think it may have been part spiritual (I was truly in the dark) and part chemical imbalance. Does depression cause a chemical imbalance, or does a chemical imbalance cause depression? I don’t know. The worst type of depression is often related to bipolar disorder. (When I was in nursing eons ago, it was called Manic Depression.) Bipolar disorder is related to schizophrenia. The person can lose touch with reality (psychosis). Maybe this is what happened to Jordan. Regardless, it’s heartbreaking, especially for those who knew and loved him.

    • Thank you for your comments, Sheryl. You obviously have a lot of knowledge about this kind of severe depression. I am so glad to hear that, with God’s help, you’ve conquered this horrible enemy! I suspect that you have helped others conquer it or at least battle it also.
      You asked a question that I want to know the answer to: “Does depression cause a chemical imbalance, or does a chemical imbalance cause depression?”
      It seems that not even the researchers can agree on the answer.

      • I googled the question: ““Does depression cause a chemical imbalance, or does a chemical imbalance cause depression?” And sure enough, no one seems to know. Not only that, but some insist that there is no connection between depression and chemical imbalance.

        Meanwhile, I had another thought about Jordan and other Christians who become suicidal. Sometimes doctors prescribe the wrong medication. What works for one person might have adverse affects on another. Wellbutrin is good example. It helps some and makes others unbearably anxious. Some anti-depressants can even cause (or exacerbate) suicidal tendencies..

        When I was a student nurse, I worked with bipolar and schizophrenia patients who were out of touch with reality and not responsible for their actions. I think the medications are probably much better now than they were then.

        • Thank you for doing that research, Sheryl. I haven’t ever googled questions like that, but over the years I’ve read about studies that came to the complete opposite conclusions. It’s frustrating trying to learn about this subject. I have also heard about antidepressants (in some cases) doing more harm than good. It all seems like a crap-shoot.

          • In response to the comment/question: “Does depression cause a chemical imbalance, or does a chemical imbalance cause depression?” And sure enough, no one seems to know. Not only that, but some insist that there is no connection between depression and chemical imbalance.” I would argue that there is definately a connection between the two. I know because I experienced what it felt like to have a chemical imbalance in my college years. I can tell you that my depression wasn’t a result of circumstances, other than hypoglycemia. And it wasn’t a normal sadness. My focus was on Christ, I desired to be a missionary. I don’t say that to brag because I still had a lot of growing up to do. But I don’t think self focus brought on this heavy darkness. . . . During my experience with depression, the Lord allowed some spiritual warfare. And God opened my eyes to His great power and deliverance in which I felt completely powerless in and of myself. . . . Taking mild medication over four months really helped balance my “imbalance,” chemically speaking anyway. 🙂

          • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, KD. I know of several people that, like you, have been helped by antidepressants. However, many of these people’s doctors made adjustments (to their prescriptions) three or four times before finding a prescription and level that helped. Some of the side-effects to a drug or level that causes those adjustments can be severe in some cases. Regardless of whether depression causes a chemical imbalance or the other way around, antidepressants can, as you know, help to balance things out. I’ve never taken antidepressants, but I would try them if I was diagnosed with a chemical imbalance.

  40. I agree that it is prevalent in this day and age. That is why I believe God called me to share my story. I’ve spoken about it and to my surprise people connect in ways I never thought they would. It is a considerable last of my book because it is a considerable part of my testimony. From the demonic heavy oppression to the miraculous healing 20 years after the first signs, the life I had made me who I am … a vessel of hope for Christ and His peace that can be found. It really is a choice in every moment.
    May I share an excerpt?

    My prayer daily is that it blesses all who read it and that it leads to Him.


    • Thank you for your comments, Heather. It’s great to hear that you’ve also overcome this; I had hoped when I was writing this post that I would get some testimonies like yours that would give people hope.

  41. God is always faithful and in total control no matter comes! Thanks for sharing this post.

  42. Hi Bill, I appreciate your blog! I don’t know how you feel about blog awards, but I’ve nominated you for a few. You can get the details here: http://psalms34eight.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/six-awards/

  43. Wow. How timely this post is for many, many people! Working as a therapist in a Christian counseling office, I spend a lot of my professional time trying to help believers who struggle with depression. Yes, it seem like an epidemic. I suppose one needs to consider whether depression is more prevalent, or if we’re just hearing more about it. Years ago it was called a “nervous breakdown” and treated with tranquilizers and sometimes shock therapy.

    I have written quite a bit about depression on my blog, http://www.lindasbiblestudy.wordpress.com. If you scroll down, on the right of the posts you will find “Categories.” One of the categoris is depression. It’s important that we always sift everything we hear or read through God’s Word, and that’s what I’ve tried to do. I hope it’s helpful to someone who may be suffering.

    • Thank you for your comments and your posts on this issue. Maybe depression seems more common today because people recognize it more (through mass-media…) and are more willing to open up about it more. Logically you would think depression would be less of a problem today in nations like America that have a high standard of living etc. I mean, our parents generation, the generation that went through losing their savings in the Great Depression and losing loved-ones in World War 2 etc had a lot more to be depressed about. This is why I think the “feel good gospel” and overall unrealistic expectations might be adding to the problem; maybe depression wasn’t as big of a problem in previous generations because their life-expectations weren’t so sky high?

      • Yes, I think you are right. My parents were part of that Greatest Generation. They certainly were more thankful for the little they had than we are today for our abundance.

        Doing therapy is often like peeling an onion. It takes a long time to get to the core.

        • You definitely have a lot of insight into this difficult issue.

        • Thank you , Bill, for all that you do to bring hope to hurting people. You and your family are in my prayers.


          On Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 11:25 AM, Unshakable Hope wrote:

          > ** > granonine commented: “Yes, I think you are right. My parents were part > of that Greatest Generation. They certainly were more thankful for the > little they had than we are today for our abundance. Doing therapy is often > like peeling an onion. It takes a long time to get to t” >

  44. I’m so sorry to hear about Jordan, and I’ll be lifting his family up in prayer, as surely their grief is deep and raw. And I’m glad to see this post about depression among Christians. Since claiming to be healed/delivered from depression 2 years ago–I was initially embarrassed and ashamed to admit I’ve had a couple bouts of recurrence. In fact this week has been rather miserable! But God is showing me Much in the midst of it–mostly that whether or not the brethren can deal with me being depressed, God loves me always and anyways, unconditionally, and He has no plans to stop! I also believe He’s guiding me to be more open and authentic about it–for the very reason that there ARE many Christians who suffer depression. It will remain a taboo, and like leprosy–if we keep it hidden. If we expose it to His Light, and throw off the needless shame–we can all grow in grace and be more fully healed. Stepping down from your podium now–God bless you so abundantly. Thanks again! love, sis Caddo

    • Thank you for your comments, Caddo – I agree with everything you said – especially the part about Christians being more honest and open about their battles with depression. Jesus is the light; things that are hidden from the light cannot be healed – isolation and shame are depression’s greatest allies; we need to do away with them so we can conquer depression.

  45. Hi Bill, I wish I had a chance to visit your blog sooner! I apologize for my delayed response. Depression is a topic that’s close to my heart. I’ve watched way too many people suffer from it, including myself. After having my first child, I endured postpartum depression. I was plagued with thoughts and feelings that I could not be a good mother because I was in a rocky marriage that was heading towards divorce. I wanted to give up on life and just be with my Savior in Heaven. However, through prayer and being a part of a body of believers helped me realize God was not finished with me yet. As I healed and fixed my eyes on Christ, He began to show me how to depend on His strength and wisdom to follow His dream for my life. As a result, my relationship with my husband and children changed and I was given hope for the future. There are still days when I will feel a wave of sadness, but I’ve learned to recognize it and take healthy steps towards having an eternal perspective on life. Having brothers and sisters in Christ like you to learn from has been one of those steps I take!!

    I just wrote a new blog entry called “Pursuing Dreams.” I would be honored to have you post a comment on it!

    • Thank you for your comments, Danielle. What a great testimony – you have a lot of great testimonies! Have you ever written a post about this or depression in general?
      I have learned so much (about battling depression) from reading the comments from this post! Like many of the other people that commented, I bet when you were in the depths of depression, you didn’t feel like reading your Bible, praying, having friends from church over or doing any of the other things that you now credit for pulling you out and keeping you out of “the pit.” For Christians that have successfully battled depression, this seems to be one thing they have in common – they somehow got the strength to do the exact opposite of what their emotions were telling them to do.
      I think your occasional “sadness” is normal; we would be spiritual and emotional zombies if our personal trials and the trails of our friends and loved-ones didn’t make us sad on occasion.
      I will definitely read your new post!

    • Yes, in addition to the ‘happiness’ fable which many buy, there is a misunderstood truth similar. I know many non believers that have higher morals than some christians; sad but true. Likewise I know believers who are better ‘scientists’ than atheists or evolutionists because of study.

      But the moralist loses heart because he does not know Christ did not come to make a bad person good; but to make a dead man alive. This is the essence of the teaching on salvation: ‘with man this is impossible.’ There is no contradiction, and even the great teacher Nicodemus was lost in the fog of misunderstanding, …..until…….his eyes were opened.

      It needs said though, the believer should have both the highest of moral pedigree as well as a strong testimony.

  46. I’m glad I stumbled onto your blog site. I think depression is a very real problem for Christians. Most people don’t like to talk about it though, because of the stigma attached to “depressed people”. They must not be really saved – or fully spiritual or some such nonsense. I battled with a little depression for a season some 20+ years ago when my husband and I were pastoring a small church in Fortuna, California. There was no reason for it that I could tell. I finally went to my local doctor to see if there was anything physically wrong with me. At the time my daughter was about 3 years old. The doctor could find nothing wrong with me – but I’ll never forget what he said to me. He said, “being a pastor’s wife has to be stressful – even if you’re not aware of the stress”. Sometimes we don’t know the cause of something – and it can lift as quickly as it comes sometimes. When we discover a “reason” sometimes it helps at least to put it to rest. Not always. But in my case that seemed to be the end of it. I have a friend who battles depression if he lives in a place that does not have a lot of sunshine. I can’t remember the name of that – but it’s very real. Christian or not – it is something that most everyone deals with from time to time.

    • Thank you for your comments, Cindy. You’re so right; there’s a stigma attached to depression – especially among Christians. As you said, some Christians think “they must not really be saved…” I had that thought in my mind as I was writing this post – I felt obligated to do my small part to chip away at that false belief. As I mentioned in some of the other comments, I don’t get that when I read the Bible; many Old and New Testament heroes of faith suffered from what we now call depression. You and I are normal:-)

      • I’m so glad to be called “normal”! I almost renamed the tag of my blogsite today to: “Musings from a Somewhat Normal Mind” – but changed it to what I have now 🙂 I think you’re right – I’m more normal than abnormal.

  47. Very good post here my brother… This is a real problem in the church today. This is one area where the church is failing. When someone is going through some form of depression, we sent them to see a psychiatrist, hoping that they will get help, but we fail to counsel with them and do the very hard work of working and walking with them thoughout this trying time. I confess this is hard work, but a necessary work . I think the church can do better by activating compassion, sustained prayer and radical love and friendship and a stubborn faith to see people set free when they go through times like this.

    • Thank you, Walter. I agree with you, the church needs to do more about this – corporately and as individual followers of Christ. We need to learn to recognize the signs of depression in our family, friends and fellow church members and force our way into their isolation. Sometimes it only takes a phone call, email or text to start pulling them out of the darkness.

      • you are right – Isolate is the first thing people want to do in times of depression. I am thinking about the four friends who brought their friend to Jesus. Taking down somebody’s roof to reach Jesus. These are the kind of friends that will seek out depressed friends and do everything to make sure that Jesus lays hands on them.
        This is a very important subject and thanks for writing about it.
        Stay blessed my friend.

        • Thank you, Walter. I love your analogy of the four friends carrying their paralyzed friend to Jesus; as I said, depression is as paralyzing to the soul as ALS is to the body.

  48. Your pose some very valid points about how the church actually feeds into the cycle of depression. I agree that preaching the “happy Christian” theology is totally backfiring. People are afraid to be real when they are hurting because we are told our faith is lacking. What a mess.
    When I was at my lowest point is when I withdrew from the church just as your friend mentioned. I’ve had far too many Christian friends ‘gently suggest’ that I must not have fully given my burdens to the Lord. (gag) Or some other nonsense. The people who were there for me the most, were non-judgmental and encouraging were my non-church friends. It was very disappointing. I learned to keep my mask on when I did go to church. Now I don’t wear my mask, but I’m not depressed anymore, either.
    I’m glad you are addressing this topic.

    • Thank you for your comments, Denise. I think you’re right; “happy gospel” churches force people to wear “happy masks.” Thankfully there are many churches where you don’t feel like you have to wear a mask. Before committing to follow Christ, I had no problem being open and honest with friends (about my “issues”) after a night of drinking; shouldn’t I be able to be just as open and honest with my Christian friends without the alcohol? 🙂 Our Pastor has a slogan for our church that is “We’re friendlier than any bar in town.” Many Christians would find that irreverent, but not someone like me who spent years looking for friendliness in bars.

  49. Thank you for broaching this difficult subject!! You are right when you said, “Jesus didn’t suffer and die just to make us happy.” The good news isn’t happiness and prosperity; it’s eternal life with Him. I think this prosperity gospel makes those who struggle feel like they’re missing out on something which is totally not true.

    • Thank you for your comments. I didn’t intend to turn this into a debate about the so-called “prosperity gospel,” but I agree with your comments. The real good news is a universal message; it transcends cultural, religious and socioeconomic differences – the feel good gospel is a gospel that can only be preached in North America and Western Europe. The gospel that can be preached in the slums of India and to the starving in Africa is the message that has the power to transform hearts and minds and is able to conquer depression.

  50. Great post. Well written. I have had many years of undiagnosed depression stemming back to childhood but by the grace of God I do not take medication anymore and find my peace in rest through His Word and pull strength from the leading of the Holy Spirit. Thanks for the post and many blessings to you. ~~Michele

  51. Reblogged this on Like Incense and commented:
    Really awesome post on the trial of depression among Christians (and anyone for that

  52. Wonderful article! This has inspired me to write more! also, thank you for liking my post I hope some of you also visit my blog thoughtfulraindowns.wordpress.com thanks! God bless!!

  53. Thank you for your sensitivity in writing about depression. Imagine if someone said a person has cancer because they are not focused on Christ! That is what a person with depression – an illness – has to contend with.

    My Bible is full of people who faced trials and tribulations. Jesus’ disciples were instructed to “go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” No promises of big houses and smiling happiness every day.

    Through my worst depressive episodes, the only thing that sustains me is faith in God who doesn’t make everything all pretty for me. I read the book of Job. I read about the suffering of Christ, about how he was mocked, and cruelly murdered. Only people judge our suffering, not God. I really believe that. It is amazing how close you can be to God when it feels that you may die at any minute – from a life threatening illness called depression. Others may look better, but looks can be very very deceiving.

    • That’s excellent, Mary! You are right; depression is a trial just like cancer is a trial. Many of the Bible figures we preach about today; prophets like David and Jeremiah…, suffered from depression. Jeremiah is called “The Weeping prophet,” he wrote the book of Lamentations. I think movies, like “The Passion of the Christ,” focus so much on the physical sufferings of Christ that people miss the emotional suffering that He went through. When you read the prophetic passages (about Jesus), like Isaiah 53; (He was) “A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…” (Isaiah 53:3) you discover that Christ was very familiar with what today we call depression.

    • Thank you so much for your comments, Mary. Seeing depression akin to cancer is a very good analogy. I’m going to remember that.

  54. Thank you so much for this post. I have struggled with depression for a vast majority of my life, and it is interesting when one is Christian. I used to even have intense suicidal thoughts and things would come over me that I couldn’t explain that I would just feel fine one second and hopeless the next. Life is a journey. I have found in recent days that I have to get up and pray even if I don’t want to because that is just a lie from my habitual self saying I can’t do it. The only way to combat this depression is with constant love being poured in. At first I thought reading the Bible was just a thing that Christians were supposed to do, but now I see it is like the sleeping medication I so desperately wanted to be on because of my over active mind. Just a simple scripture can calm you. Just hearing God’s words and quieting the spirit is all we need to do. It is scary. Life is so fragile and the key to living is not taking things personally. To remember and truly believe that there is more to life than just our “physical being” that how we feel right now can change in an instant. That we are created by God with his divine love. Believing that, is what truly eliminates that depression. Because how can you feel unloved, unneeded, undesirable, when there is a divine creator who loves you more than you can even imagine.

    • Amen, Morgan! You’ve also discovered that praying and reading the Bible isn’t just something that Christians are “supposed to do,” but, as you said, these things are our spiritual, emotional and even physical “medicine;” they’re like the fuel that God designed us to run on. Like me, you do the right and necessary things even when – especially when – you don’t “feel like” doing these things. I am glad you are now a hope-giver!

  55. I didn’t have time to read every comment on your post, Bill, but it looks like you’ve touched on a timely topic. One of my younger brothers took his life seven years ago so I also am too familiar with the grief associated with that type of loss. A book that really helped me during that time was Michael Card’s Sacred Sorrow. He addresses directly exactly what you commented on: “many “seeker friendly” churches preach a message of happiness and prosperity and, if Christians don’t feel happy and/or prosperous, they can feel un-Christian. I cannot help but wonder if the “feel good” gospel message might be exacerbating the feelings of depression among Christians.” I personally do not have to deal with that in my church tradition, but do run into many people who think something is wrong if you can’t “put on a happy face” even in the face of great trials.

    I appreciate the differentiation you make between depression caused by emotional circumstances and that caused by a chemical imbalance. I dealt with depression for most of my life and struggled so much with “What am I doing wrong?” I recently went on some medication that has made all the difference, but had to battle through the “stigma” attached to that. I’m sure that medicine for depression is over-prescribed, but that does not mean that it should never be prescribed . . .

    Thank you for tackling this touch topic. I especially appreciate your humility in admitting that you can’t say anything definitively about the topic because it isn’t one that you have dealt with personally. Too many good-meaning folks make generalizations about those who suffer from depression that just are not true. I believe that one can never really speak definitively–even IF you have suffered from something. I’m sure you know that from your experience with ALS. Everyone is different. I can speak from my experience, but not assume that what I have experienced is the same for everyone.

    At the same time, we do know that Jesus is the answer for everything. HOW He answers is personal to each soul.

    Thank you again, Bill. May God continue to inspire you.

    • Thank you so much for your comments, S.R. Dorcee. I am so sorry about your brother; that’s sad! I have learned so much about this subject from reading your comments and the comments of others. I am convinced of one thing, as you said and others have eluded to, it’s dangerous to make any generalizations when it comes to discussing depression. I also agree with you that just because anti-depressants are over-prescribed (I think any objective person would conclude that they are) that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be prescribed at all. I haven’t ever taken anti-depressants, but I know people that have been helped by them.
      That Michael Card book sounds good.
      God bless you.

  56. Hi Bill,

    I have thought about this post since I read it when you published it. It seems that you like to tackle some “big stuff.” Well, here’s my 2 cents.

    For half of my life for years I was sick. I think it was hormonal, probably severe PMS. Some days I couldn’t even get out of bed, I felt such fatigue that went far beyond being tired. And terrific mind battles! By the grace of God I survived. Too bad I didn’t know then what I know now.

    Being in the ministry, church planting overseas with my husband, being a missionary, doing different works for the Lord, probably helped much, as you said, to be outwardly focused.

    It was a difficult time in my life to say the least, but may I humbly say that the Word of God is true? If I don’t appropriate it in my life, does it negate His promises? If I feel unworthy or embrace being a failure or feel low self-esteem does it mean that God loves me any less?

    To be self-focused and not Christ-focused contributes much to depression, in my humble opinion. I can’t look at myself or my lack. I must look to Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of my faith. I must look at how much the Heavenly Father, Jesus my Savior, and the Holy Spirit my Comforter loves me. If no one on this earth loves me, just sayin, but God loves me then that should cause me to do cartwheels from here to eternity. I am loved by the greatest lover of all!

    When Christians know that the Lord truly loves them and that He will hear and answer their prayers, it gives them a foundation for faith to build on. When Christians know that God’s word is true and they can appropriate it personally, it gives confidence. A child of God does not have to allow the enemy of their soul, the devil, to steal their mind.

    2 Timothy 1:7
    For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

    Sometimes I need a bonafide miracle! Well, my God specializes in miracles today in 2013. He has never changed. I need to be educated in what God has for me.

    Back to Basics

    Bible Reading

    I appreciate this blog very much. I pray for you from time to time when I think about you. It seems that you haven’t posted in a while and I was getting concerned. Then this post appeared in my Reader, and I felt relieved. God bless you Brother.

    • Thank you for your informative comments, Nin. You wrote – “To be self-focused and not Christ-focused contributes much to depression, in my humble opinion.”
      I agree with you completely, but I am trying to figure out which comes first; does being self-focused cause or contribute to depression or does depression cause people to be self-focused? There seems to be a lot of “chicken or the egg” questions when it comes to depression. I’m glad you seem to have figured out a formula to battle your depression. I think that’s one of the things that upsets me most about these young people like Jordan committing suicide; I can’t help but think they could have become better a dealing with it if they’d given it a few more years.
      I am glad you are now giving others hope!

  57. Jordan’s testimony video was all the more gut wrenching given his recent suicide. I truly believe the devil convinces people like him to do, in one impulsive moment, what they would be thankful they hadn’t done the next day, had they not been successful. I know what it’s like to have battled depression – and particularly chronic anxiety – but I also know what it’s like to learn (over a very long period of time) that there’s a far more excellent way… through resting in Christ continually. Your post was timely, astute and wise.

    • Thank you for your comments, Joy. Jordan’s video is gut-wrenching (when you realize he’s no longer with us), but I think it’s important for us to put a face on these tragedies to the extent that we can. I am glad you’re successfully battling your depression and giving others hope.

  58. Thank you for talking about how important it is to read the Bible and spend time with God to avoid depression. I hope other children avoid the problems I encountered as a growing Christian struggling to find a proactive mentor and religious peers.

    • Thank you very much for your comments. I agree with you; it’s so important to have “proactive” (faith-building) peers, especially when people are young. It seems (from what I’m hearing), parents and family cannot be of much help when their children/siblings are depressed – they seem to push back against family’s love. Sad!

  59. Reblogged this on Loopyloo's.

  60. Psalm 42 offers such great hope I too have blogged on this subject.
    The answer is to put ALL of your hope in the LORD and look up to THE LORD JESUS seated at God’s right hand in the throne room in heaven as jesus has FINISHED his work and prepares a place for us where one day He will take us to be with HIM forever!

  61. “I cannot help but wonder if the ‘feel good’ gospel message might be exacerbating the feelings of depression among Christians.”

    I believe this is often exactly the case. There are very difficult-to-deal-with-and-bear realities on this planet as you well know, Brother. And these realities call for a corresponding higher and stronger reality that can only possibly be met through and by our Lord Jesus in the full measure of His Person and power, who overcame and defeated everything, including death, on our behalf.

    It is a sad thing that “another gospel” is being offered that does not possess the power and strength and truth of the one true Gospel of the Lord. Even more sadly, the reason many people reject Christianity is because they are only familiar with the false forms and not the real thing, and the false should indeed be rejected. But real searchers of truth are never satisfied for long until they have the truth.

    It is the same with followers of the Lord who realize that the requirements of our discipline are not sometime things but every day and every hour things. A real walk with God requires a 100% commitment and a 100% commitment to our spiritual disciplines or else we will have little success in spiritual battle and the maintenance of the Life He gave us.

    Keep up the great work. You are obviously having a great impact. Thanks.

    • Great points, RJ. I think you’re right about people rejecting a false idea of Christianity, as you said “another gospel” and another Jesus. You can see on my post “The Day I Discovered Hope” that I did this for years – I really didn’t understand what genuine Christianity was; I wrongly believed it was religion.

  62. Bill, having had two relatives commit suicide and having battled serious depression in my younger years, I can truly appreciate both your thoughtfulness in how graciously you wrote this post and your desire to have a blanket of loving prayer over this grieving family. It is a lonely and painful road that is often made worse by legalistic comments some “Christians” have a tendency to make. Bless you for not being one of those.

    I think you have hit the nail on the head with your comment: “I cannot help but wonder if the “feel good” gospel message might be exacerbating the feelings of depression among Christians.” All we have to do is read the Psalms, Job, and Paul’s writings to know that suffering and sadness can and will happen during parts of our journey within Christ.

    Yes, I turn to the word and prayer when I am discouraged. But, sadly, the organized “church” is not where I turn to for encouragement. I turn to real Christian friends – those that listen and pray. And I do the same for them. Being in regular church attendance is a good thing – since one may meet real people there midst the tares.

    I sound a little bitter because I am presently dealing with a relative who was bullied at a Christian school and youth group he attended. Jesus is wonderful – but some who claim to be his followers (and are not) are hurting others in the fold.

    Thank you for bringing this topic and prayer needs to light.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • I’m sorry that you’ve also dealt with suicide in your family, Wendy. Sadly, virtually every Christian has been bullied in the name of Christ, misusing scripture to do so. The son of a close friend was bullied in youth group because he had long hair. Like Jordan, he was/is a creative person and, sadly, creative “outside-the-box” people don’t fit in many churches, but thankfully that’s changing. Thank you for joining us in prayer for Jordan’s family and friends. God bless you, Wendy.

  63. This is a powerful, powerful post. I ‘liked’ it not because of the tragic news (I’m praying for Jordan’s family and for you as well), but because of your honesty, sincerity, and forthright reminder that our hope must always remain in Christ. “I know from reading the Bible and from my own experience as a follower of Christ, that Christianity offers genuine lasting peace, hope and joy.”

    All I can add to that is Amen and Amen!


  64. I do not know Jordan but seeing him in his music and his testimony video let me see a glimpse into who he was, he had so much talent and he seemed like he was such a lovely person. My prayers go out to his family. Thank you for sharing this, it along with the comments are very timely and helpful to me.

    • Thank you, Terri. I didn’t know Jordan either, but, like you, I feel as if I knew him from watching the videos and from hearing about him from people that knew him… I agree with you; the comments have been so helpful, I have learned so much.
      Thank you for joining us in praying for Jordan’s family.

  65. Bill:

    I thank you for your important post.

    God has grown in me compassion for those suffering with depression. Whether it be with the individual, their family or close friends.

    In 1989 I was diagnosed with 2nd bout of Cancer: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Beginning in 1989 and into the 1st quarter of 1990, I experienced an Major Depressive episode. I believe, in a large part, depression visited me as I then believed I would die from the cancer. Having serveral months of Chemotherapy in 1989, also had it’s ill effects on my physical & mental health as well. In January, 1990 I was deemed to be in remission. Welcome, and yet bittersweet news for my wife Debbie, as the life threatening depression continued. Over the course of my depression I underwent a long series of cognitive therapy sessions and was prescribed, one at a time, anti-depressive medications. The depression continued. Suicidal thoughts were my constant companion. There were my, thanks be to God, unsuccessful, attempts to take my life. My wife sought counsel regarding the depression. Three Pshyciatrists and one trusted friend, himself in the health care filed, recommended I have ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy). I had the in-patient ECT. The ECT was effective. The depression fully lifted. After my release from the hospital I returned home, and to studying the Bible with Chistian men. I had begun studying weekly sometime before the ECT. God gave me the gift of a mustard seed of faith in His love, and the redemptive power of the Blood of Jesus. I repented of my sins and was Baptized into Christ, June 1990. Clearly God saved my physical and more importantly, my spiritual life as well.

    For over the last 1 1/2 years or so I’ve suffered with mild depression, anxiety and adjustment disorder. My daily tools to stay strong in Christ include: Daily Bible study, Prayer, Fellowship, my writing, listening to music, being open with ‘safe’ people in my life, i.e.: Wife, Brothers, LCSW.

    Sure, It would be my desire to wake up one day to find my depression gone. However, The Lord has allowed me to embrace daily:

    9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness…”

    2 Corinthians 12:9-10a

    And each day He reminds me, come what may in this life, that my Sonship (Romans 8) is where my true identity lies.

    Note: I’ve become more aware than ever satan is at work seeking to trouble and destroy my heart & mind. My prayer is to always remember the lost & dying state I was in before Jesus rescued me. Also to be God’s instrument to be used by Him to build up another Christian whose faith and life is in jeopardy. All while showing those not in Christ The Lord who Rescues.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story, Glen. It sounds like you know a lot about this subject of depression and suicide – you have an advanced degree from the school of hard knocks!
      On one hand, I reject the idea that you have to learn to live with your depression. But on the other hand it sounds like your depression has forced you to rely on God so maybe it’s your “thorn in the flesh,” the thing that keeps you humble and empathetic to those who suffer from depression or are going through other trials. I know God can and does heal depression, but maybe that healing isn’t a one time event; maybe it’s something we have to seek daily – His grace!
      I’m happy to hear that your cancer is gone!

  66. I am utterly crushed. I didn’t know Jordan, I hadn’t heard of him until this post, but hearing his testimony and his music broke my heart in two. He was so gifted, and who knows how many incredible things he could have been used to do with his art and music. I am so sorry. I am praying for all who knew him.

    And thank you for this post; my father has depression and it once threatened me as well, and this is insightful.

    Date: Fri, 24 May 2013 13:38:02 +0000 To: tessa_maye@hotmail.com

    • Thank you, Tessa. I agree with you; it’s a heartbreaking situation. Jordan would have accomplished so much. Thank you so much for joining us in praying for all those who loved Jordan.

  67. It saddens me for Jordon’s family as they struggle with the “whys”. I will pray for the Almighty Lover of our Souls… the Lord Jesus to comfort them during this time.
    Breaks my heart thinking about it. My oldest daughter, who is a beautiful Christian woman, struggles with depression like this as well. When she is going through one of her ‘episodes’, I’ve learned (through the Holy Spirit’s guidance) to listen… and then very humbly and loving tell her I am praying for her, plus I advise her to take whatever issue is causing the depression to her Father in heaven and spend time alone in the Word with Him.
    Thank you so very, very much for sharing this. I agree that many “seeker friendly” churches are preaching a defective gospel. A gospel which is untrue. Prosperity (materially) and comfortable living. The True Gospel tells us we will be persecuted, hated, tried by fire, tempted constantly by the enemy’ s deceits. Young believers must be “discipled” as the Word instructs!

    • Thank you very much for sharing about your daughter, Stephanie. You’re right, of course, the narrow road isn’t usually a smooth walk, but thankfully we’re not walking alone.

  68. I agree with you that there is so much hope on listening to the Word of God for God is hope and life.

    I disagree with you that there are so many Christians that are so depressed. I happen to be involved in Canadian Mental Health Association and most of the people who are afflicted with depression are non-believers. They become a believer or Christian for argument sake when they found that there is hope.

    And it’s good that Christians are more open to the term depression for the Church is now teaching the congregation on how to rely on prayers as well as health organization. That Christians are beginning to open their eyes to this disease of the brain.

    Depression hurts all walks of life, Christians or non-Christians.

    • Thank you for your comments, Perpetua. It’s great to hear that you don’t believe that depression is as big of a problem in the church as I think it is. Obviously you have more knowledge about this; I’m just going by what I read online etc.

  69. I watched the video… what a tender, tormented, artistic heart he had. May the God of all comfort overwhelm his family with peace that passes all understanding. I trust he awoke in the presence of His heavenly Father.

    • Yes, Helene, a close friend of Jordan’s said “he was a gentle soul.” But, from what I’ve observed, it seems like most people suffering with this deep kind of depression are gentle and caring people; maybe this is why they’re more prone to suffering with depression?

  70. This is so great. Down to earth and TRUE. I liked this paragraph: “I think this is an important fact because many “seeker friendly” churches preach a message of happiness and prosperity and, if Christians don’t feel happy and/or prosperous, they can feel un-Christian. I cannot help but wonder if the “feel good” gospel message might be exacerbating the feelings of depression among Christians.”
    It think it’s very true, and something the church sooo needs to be aware of.

    • I hope readers won’t think I am condemning all seeker-friendly churches; many would classify the church we attend as seeker-friendly. But some, like ours, have found more creative ways to present the true gospel and others (I have seen on TV) present a “happy face” message that makes you think any trial, illness, especially depression, means you’re out of God’s will.

  71. Thank you for posting this. In Jordan’s testimony video it is obvious that the young man was touched deeply both by difficulty and by grace. No easy answers here, and especially no glib, pat, answers. Here is window into the depth of God and the profoundest mysteries of life in Christ.

    One’s role in the face of this is simply to be silent, and prayerful.

    So will I bear this dear young man’s family on my heart in prayer through this day.

    This does mean something… eternal.

  72. My heart and prayers go out to Jordan’s family. It is such a tragedy to lose those so young.

  73. Thank you for this post! I’ve had struggles and still do with spiritual depression, but every time I’m in the pit, God reminds me to put on the full armor of God and to use the sword of the Spirit, His Word … so I’m thankful that you shared verses. That is how to fight for joy!

  74. Hi Bill, When I was put in a clinic for a short while back in 2006 not due to depression, I noticed something about the people there. One who mentioned reading from the Bible the night before was calm in manner the following day, at times when she did not read the night before she was not calm the next day and appeared to be in need of meds. One whom I talked to about prayer and later heard her praying as she laid in bed, was released the following day. When I was released I read a lot from the Bible which helped eliminate the battle going on inside. I do battle today but my battle is different now. I know God is with me helping me keep right in Spirit. The point here is, for those who are in need don’t stop reading. Reading the Bible is like being put in a washing machine, sometimes it takes many washings to become clean.

  75. Great post, interesting observation. Depression is so hard to articulate and each day can be a struggle. It can be so debilitating because we are so sensitive to the world around us. Attitudes are contagious, criticism feels like personal attacks, we spend untold amounts of energy trying to fight negative thinking. It can be a pitiful existence, especially as a Christian, because you know this is not the life God wants for you, which can lead to feelings of guilt.

    • I never thought about depression being harder for Christians, but I suppose it could be true because of the guilt etc. On the other hand, knowing that depression isn’t God’s will means you still realize He is your partner in escaping from the pit you’re in. Non-Christians probably feel completely alone.

  76. I once asked my mom, “why do you suppose so many people see psychologists and are so depressed?” “No one listens anymore!” she said very soberly. I have been thinking about that so many time since … I really appreciate you pointing us to fellowship and meeting with other believers … we need each other and we need to pray for each other …
    I will pray for Jordan’s family!

  77. Bill:

    Thank you for your blog!

    I once had a pastor who was very Godly in every other way, but who had NO COMPASSION for people dealing with depression (“I didn’t get my WAY”), until his wife went through a bout with mental illness which included clinical depression. She eventually recovered, but I can say that today her husband is one of the most compassionate people I know in dealing with others suffering from this disorder!

    Charles Spurgeon apparently suffered with deep depression, but it was also one of the very things that–as you alluded to within your own personal context–drove him to God.

    I have known three people during my life who succumbed to suicide. Whether or not their faith was intact at that time, I do not know and refuse to speculate. King David was tempted to despair more than once, but on more than one occasion (as when his life was threatened by his own people at Ziklag) he cried out to God and subsequently experienced a mighty deliverance. When Peter despaired (when he was “sifted” and denied Christ), he became broken and repentant and his relationship to Christ was restored and strengthened. On the other hand, when King Saul and Judas Iscariot despaired, they both took their own lives, one of the very temptations Satan sent against Jesus himself on the pinnacle of the temple.

    I am currently disabled and experience deep depression and agoraphobia primarily as the result of a very invasive type of ill-advised nasal surgery that is hopefully becoming much less prevalent today. In extreme cases like mine, the degenerative side effects of “radical turbinectomy” include a gradual loss of any “sense of well being.” It has also been closely associated with clinical depression and suicide. I can say that medications including a sleep aid and anti-depressants have been helpful to some degree.

    The thing that has kept me to this point from seriously considering suicide as an option is not only the Biblical warning against those who “destroy this temple”, but also the constant reminder–which, if it cannot be quoted, can certainly be gleaned from scripture–that ONLY GOD HAS THE POWER TO CREATE LIFE; ONLY HE HAS THE AUTHORITY TO REMOVE IT FROM THE EARTH. Whether or not someone who is truly walking by genuine faith can ever reach a point where they presume to take their own life–again–I will not speculate. I do know that God is full of grace and mercy, but I also know that we CANNOT afford to place any trust in how we “FEEL”, whether mentally or physically.

    Faith has an “appetite”, and must be “fed” by the “hearing” of the Word of God. I know that my condition has driven me to God and His Word. In addition to daily prayer, reading of the Bible, and the memorizing of scripture, I also listen to the Bible on an MP3 player. I do hope that my condition will by God’s grace stabilize enough to allow me to work again, at least part time, but all I can say is that I have no one else to turn to besides Jesus!

    • Wow, Bryan, you’ve been through a lot; I’m so sorry for your difficulties. The story about your former Pastor reminded me of one of my former ALS doctors – he had no compassion for patients until his wife was diagnosed with cancer. Now, from what I hear, he has a lot of compassion now. It’s sad that many people have no empathy until they go through a trial. I hope and pray that God blesses you with healing for your spirit, soul body.

  78. Steven Ponchot

    My heart weeps with all who knew Jordan. How tragic! Rick Warren, a name almost synonymous with success, recently lost his son in a similar way. Most of us cannot come close to relating, but we can trust in God’s fairness. Even in circumstances like this that are so far above us, in Christ, somewhere there is hope.

    I cannot help but notice how great depression seems to be growing! The reasons, I am sure, are far too complex for me to comprehend. On the other hand, however, I see how you rejoice in God’s circumstances. I learned this week that I must make huge changes in the way I think and work, and I feel so helpless. Goals I had set no longer fit the picture. I am a polio survivor with post-polio syndrome, and if I do not make huge changes in my approach to life, I stand to lose most ant thing. I would not dare say that I can relate to ALS, to you, but I have seen God do some powerful things.

    For now I will hang my trust in Grace, knowing that nothing happens to us that hasn’t been run through the filter of God’s love. Thank you for representing Grace so powerfully! May you know God’s presence as you keep moving forward.

    In Him,


    ” … those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will not grow weary.” (Is. 40:31)

    • Thank you for your comments, Steven. I heard about Rick Warren’s son; another tragic story. I think you’re right, the reasons for this increase in depression are to varied and complex to understand – even for those who study this issue full-time.
      I’m sure, as a Polio survivor, you’ve experienced some dark days too.

  79. I can only imagine what Jordan’s family must be facing–the grief, the pain, the nagging thoughts that they should have been able to help him. My heart and prayers are with them. May God use this post, Bill, to reach hurting hearts. You are a powerful voice, to proclaim the hope, peace, and joy we have in Jesus!

    • Thank you, Nancy – for your encouragement and for joining me in praying for Jordan’s family. I am glad that you and I can only imagine the pain they’re feeling right now. I think the self-blame (“I should have done this,” “I should have done that…”) would be the hardest thing to deal with in a situation like this. But I know his family loved him unconditionally and tried to help him fight this for many years, so I hope and pray that they don’t go down that dark path of self-blame.

  80. When I was in my early twenties, I suffered from a two-year bout with depression. My father wanted to know what he did wrong. Didn’t he help me enough with my faith?

    Maybe we have an idea, not just as a church, but as a society, that depression is a moral failing.

    • Thank you for your comments, Ann. As the father of two daughters in their twenties, like you were when you suffered from depression, I know I would be wondering what I did wrong (if they suffered with depression). But, as you know, it’s never that simple. As far as society, especially the Church, viewing depression as a moral failing, I think it’s true, but I think that view is changing – people are learning that it’s rarely that simple. But, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that morality can play a role. I read about a large university study that showed girls that were promiscuous (don’t remember how they defined it) were like 4 times as likely to suffer with depression as girls who weren’t promiscuous.

      • It is common for bipolar disorder (depression is one phase) to make its first appearance in young adulthood. I had my first episode when I was a senior in high school, although I did not realize what it was. I had my first full blown episode of major depression in my twenties. And I have had several episodes since then. I was finally diagnosed when I was thirty-seven. For the last 18 years, medication has controlled my symptoms and stabilized my moods.

        It is true that the symptoms of depression can be triggered and/or exacerbated by poor decisions that we make. Sometimes, however, the mental illness itself makes poor decisions more likely. Several members of my extended family suffer from bipolar disorder. Many people with bipolar disorder self medicate with alcohol, drugs, and wild behavior.

        Still, it is possible for people with bipolar disorder or depressive disorders to live a life of faith, and make moral decisions.

        • Great insight, Ann! I like what you wrote – “It is true that the symptoms of depression can be triggered and/or exacerbated by poor decisions that we make. Sometimes, however, the mental illness itself makes poor decisions more likely.”
          I was thinking about that study I cited about promiscuous girls being more likely to suffer from depression… But it’s like the chicken or the egg question – which came first? Maybe the depression caused the promiscuity?

  81. I truly believe love is the cure for depression. Being given love and receiving love and giving love away all work together. Too often we lack the heart connections with God and with others that can help us weather the difficulties around us. The resulting loneliness haunts like a hellish hound relentless in its pursuit of sanity and hope.
    A hand on a shoulder, a smile that meets your eyes in genuineness, a conversation that isn’t boxed into the boundry of a stop watch – these are things that can be offered. An opening of the heart to allow someone to come close is the risk that must be taken. For if we are shut up tight in the pain of what has been and what we are presently experiencing we cannot walk into the glory of what can become. It is not easy path. God help each who struggles with it.

    Thank you Bill. Your blog page is a blessing. God bless you.

    • Thank you for your comments, Jennifer. I agree with you that love, unconditional love, can cure depression and most other emotional and spiritual problems – if that love is freely received. People that suffer from depression seem to have a difficult time freely receiving love because, as I’m learning, self-loathing and a feeling of unworthiness usually accompany depression. But in some cases, like in Jordan’s case, chemical imbalances also come in to play.

    • Jennifer, I think your comment comes closet to truth. Giving love and receiving love is the cure for most everything. However, there is an undefined element that cannot be wrapped in words for those whose lives seem harder to them. I have slowly slipped into a place of certain isolation in the privacy of my life, surrounded by a tremendous support group and network of people who I love and who love me. I have sweet, unrelenting, undisturbed intimacy with Christ and can never recognize what my soul longs for that remains unfulfilled that makes life seem harder than it is. I long for the days of being with the Lord, I ache for the moment we meet face to face. I’m not young so I’ve been through all the formulas people often offer as “fixes”. Serve more, give more, pray more, don’t think about yourself, be more grateful, resist the devil…. yet there are times the sense of “loss” is so profound that I have no idea what it is I’m supposed to be desiring. I am profoundly thankful for health, shelter, protection and provision. I write, I take photographs, I indulge in adventure, I commune with friends, I give generously, I avoid drama and have deep abiding, authentic connections with others. I have moved beyond feeling like this is punishment for some sin or my cross to bear – but many days I wake up and have to wind myself up to keep going through the motions reaching for something deeper. I know it sounds like a contradiction but I am profoundly content. I live a simple life, but much of it is on my terms. I don’t spend time desiring “things” or wanting “more stuff” or wishing some guy would come “rescue me”. I have accepted my portion in life as from his hand and even if I’m not “happy” with all of it, I truly trust He is mine and I am his and that one day, I will understand. I don’t know why some struggle more than others but I know it’s never simple.

  82. Praying for Jordan and all those who suffer similarly.
    Praising for Bill and all those who praise similarly.
    You’re a blessing beyond measure Bill… keep up the spirit-led and spirit-filled posts!
    Be blessed!

  83. Reblogged this on Hopeful.

  84. This is an important message. Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

  85. As someone who often suffered from depression, I’m so sorry to hear about Jordan. Praying~!

  86. This is so sad. A teen girl, whom I did not know but was friends of family and friends, recently took her life, too. She was beautiful, talented and well-liked, but she felt so much pressure. Not only that, but her boyfriend had recently broken up with her. Although I’m not familiar with chemically imbalanced induced depression, I myself have experienced times of depression, and it was usually because of circumstances and feeling a lack of hope for change or that people would be better without me. My heart is lightened at having heard his testimony and learning that his hope was in the Lord. Praying for his family and friends.

    • Thank you, Rene. That’s so sad about that young girl! I would be wary of anyone that said they’ve never experienced some level of depression; I might conclude that person lacked the ability to feel. With all the tragedies we experience and hear about, it’s a wonder that we’re not all in a constant state of depression!
      Have a good weekend!

  87. My heart breaks when I see this young man with amazing potential and worth and know he ended his life. When I was younger, I went through a time of struggling with depression. It is a vast pit that can keep us bound if we allow it. You are right, in that when we least feel like reading the Word of God is when we most often need to. I pray for his precious family and ask that God will give them the peace they need to get through their dark days. My father committed suicide when I was in my twenties and it was very difficult to understand why. However, there is a better way, we need to battle the feelings and live in the truth, despite our feelings. The more we let the truth into our lives, the less we will live by our feelings, which are fickle and unreliable at best. Thank you for sharing this message, it clearly is one we all need to hear.

    • Thank you very much for your heartfelt words. Whether it’s by suicide or a tragic accident (like you losing your son, Daniel), I cannot imagine anything more painful in this life than losing a child! I’m glad you’ve overcome the tragedies in your life and are now giving others hope to overcome their tragedies.

  88. This is sensitively written and full up of truth. Thank you for being so interested in this subject it means a lot to me and I’m sure to others who struggle with this too.

  89. my heart aches for this family. My dad took his own life almost 2 years ago, and it still hurts. Loss of any kind is very painful, but when it’s suicide, it’s a different kind of pain, if that makes sense. I have suffered with times of depressions over the years, and I realize there are different kinds, different levels. It only takes a ‘word’, and it can bring us to a bad place of darkness, and overwhelming sadness. For me, I still struggle, just not as badly as I used to. Several years ago, I learned it helped me, to do something creative. To change my own mindset in that way. Maybe getting some bright colorful fabric, or plant a few flowers, it helps me. I do give praise to God, for giving me a hope. And yes, I agree… depression is all over the place. When we studied Revelation some years ago, one of the things that stand out, is in the fact that during the tribulation period, there will be over the chart-depressions and suicides. Very-very sad thought.

    • Thank you, Deanna. I’m so sorry about you losing your dad, especially to suicide! Thankfully I’ve never experienced a family member taking their own life, but I do agree with you that’s a whole different level of pain – a hurt that’s much deeper. I also agree with you that those that suffer from depression must keep busy… I have noticed a change in my outlook when my computer is broken and I am not able to keep busy reading, writing, emailing etc. TV gets old really fast.

  90. Reblogged this on Sloppy & Wet Kisses and commented:
    Psalms 42:11
    Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

  91. My friend and I have suffered from really dark, crippling depression as well, But what helps is really focusing on Psalm 42:11, and to SEEK PEOPLE.

    Shame and isolation are NOT from God.. we are made to bond with others and not tackle life alone.

    To those who suffer from depression: never underestimate the power of someone laying hands on you and praying over you.

    Prayer can move mountains.

    • That’s great advice. I agree with you; shame and isolation are not God’s will for us – He designed us for fellowship and accountability. Jesus set an example of this by surrounding Himself with friends right away and never sending anyone, except Judas, out alone.

  92. Bill, what you say is so true. I went through a severe depression years ago because of circumstances that I’d rather not talk about and more recently as a side effect of a drug I was trying to combat my daily migraines, CFIDS and FMS. Depression is nothing to take lightly as I learned the hard way.

    One of the devotionals I read this week included this tidbit: “Not only does God’s Word heal today, it can prevent future ailments. *His truth is our daily supplement, building us up so we can stand strong against those things that come to attack our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.”*

    This fits exactly into what the Lord has been showing me lately — that I need to spend more time with Him. However, I thought the subject of this one was especially pertinent and the thing that stood out to me the most was the part between the asterisks.

    Having to deal with so many illnesses and symptoms at the same time is no picnic! It happens to me time and again that I start to feel kind of picked-on with all these sometimes mysterious things that plague my body. And sometimes I find myself asking, why does there have to be *one more thing* wrong with me? Isn’t what I already go through enough?

    That is when the darkness can overtake me. But thankfully the Lord always reminds me that this is just satan’s way of getting me to take my eyes off Him and keep them on myself.

    I really don’t know how I would make it through each day — sometimes each hour or minute — if I didn’t stay connected to Jesus in prayer and praise throughout the day, as well as to make sure I keep feeding my heart and mind with more of His Word.

    I will be praying for Jordan and his family too.

    • Thank you for your comments, Anna. You obviously have much more experience with this depression thing than I do. Thank you for joining me in praying for Jordan’s family. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

  93. Thank you for handling this spiritually divisive topic so graciously. I’m so sad about Jordan, Rick and Kay Warren’s son, and everyone who feels that level of hopelessness. I feel their pain as I was there 7 years ago. I suffered from major depression, and in my case, it was a result of many different factors: childhood trauma, biological predisposition (strong family history), destructive, addiction, unconscious thinking patterns, etc,. All these factors swirled around for 37 years before I found myself on the verge of self destruction.

    As a Christian, I felt guilty about being depressed, and I had no idea how to get better. I suffered from a terrible eating disorder, which only compounded the shame. I believe shame and silence are the two biggest tools of the enemy, and that’s why I blog so openly about my past addictions, PTSD, and the miraculous healing Jesus did in my heart.

    Depression is a serious biological, psychological, and spiritual condition. But it’s treatable. I’m living proof of it.

    I pray for everyone who reads this post will be encouraged to get the healing they were created to enjoy. And I pray for everyone who loves a depressed person will acquire the knowledge and appropriate resources to support their loved ones.

    We can’t save each other. But we can be a bridge to the One who can.

    Love to you, Bill. This is a great post.

    • Thank you so much for your insightful comments, Lori. From the way it sounds, you can relate to the kind of dark and lasting depression that Jordan suffered from. I’m so glad you’re still victorious over it – even after your mom’s death etc. Now you are giving people hope; awesome!
      Have a great weekend, Lori!

  94. Blessings and congratulations, I have nominated you for the best moment award, go to my blog for details. Many blessings to you and yours.

  95. Thank you for this post. I will pray for Jordan’s family. Sometimes just being alone with God and praying for the chapter that will give us insight before opening our bible helps. Depression is hard alone or among others, I just try to find what works best for me when it hits.

    • Thank you, Kerri. I am glad you’ve found ways to deal with depression. From what I’ve read and heard, you really need people to help you so the person won’t go into isolation mode; depression seems to have its way when it gets people that are alone. Unfortunately people with depression usually put on an “everything’s fine” act for family and close friends.

  96. Dear friend, there was a time in my life when I suffered with depression and suicidal tendecies. After I accepted JESUS as my savior life did not get any better for me. So for 40 years I lived with this spirit that I at the time did not realize was a spirit.
    Finally after reading a book that had nothing to do with deliverance or depression. I was led into my room, I locked myself in, got on my knees and totally surrendered.
    I said GOD, YOU did it for others do it for me too. I then opened my Bible to galatians 5 and read about the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit and asked GOD to please take away anything and everything that is not like JESUS. As I was speaking with HIM; I began to feel these very heavy weights come off the back of my head, neck, shoulders, back and hips.
    That was 10 years ago and I have been walking in freedom from guilt, depression, oppression, anger and suicidal tendecies ever since. I truly have complete joy and peace as JESUS promised; each day is an adventure to spend with my DADDY and JESUS.
    To whoever reads this; if you are depressed you too can be set free in JESUS; HE did it for me and other and HE will do it for you also.

    • That’s a great testimony; I’m glad to hear that you no longer suffer from depression. As I confessed, I don’t know a lot about the different forms of depression, but I’m learning just from reading these comments. It sounds like your depression was emotional and spiritual, but, from what I understand, Jordan’s type of depression was a chemical imbalance.

  97. Thank you for sharing this heartwrenching story. I too have suffered with depression but have found my hope and joy in Jesus. May the LORD continue to bless you with your heart for helping those who need hope.

  98. Timely post! I have mentioned in my own blog, battles with depression. The realization that it is not rational and that we are blessed beyond belief does not change the feelings. What I have found is that just the act of reading the bible, the act of worshiping, or even the act of prayer does not stem the tide. It is the act of using those things to know The Risen Savior that made a difference for me. Not asking for anything other than knowing Him on a more intimate level. I tried for years to come up with a “formula” to fix me, but like the guys breaking through the roof or the woman grabbing His robe, it is our desire to be in His presence that changes us. It is not His great works that bring us Hope, it is Him that is our Hope.

    Thanks for sharing your heart brother.

    • Wow, Chuck, that’s good! A friend that suffers with depression told me something similar; she said that on an intellectual/rational level, she knows that she is blessed, but yet she still suffers with depression. So, you’re right, there is no logical formula for overcoming depression (with the exception of chemical imbalances, which, from what I understand, can be corrected to some extent with meds).
      “It is not His great works that bring us Hope, it is Him that is our Hope.” That’s good! It made me think of Paul’s words “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings…” (Philippians 3:10)
      Thank you for your comments. Have a great weekend!

  99. Today’s post on Denison Forum addresses this issue, also. Read it at http://tinyurl.com/ovn8ep3 Don’t stop before you get to the devil’s garage sale. I think it is relevant.
    I believe one of the sales pitches for depression is the notion that we can and we should be victors all the time. In fact, like the message of happiness and prosperity, the notion that we are failures if we aren’t victorious and the idea that we should be victorious is a lie. It is the lie of self-sufficiency. We are not self-sufficient. We can only be faithful. We can only cry out “Oh, God!” That cry is truthful whether we cry it in faith or despair, because we have finally turned to the only One who really will be victorious against evil.

    • Thank you, Katherine, for your good and deep comments. You’re right, as I wrote, God (the Holy Spirit) does give us joy, peace and hope, but sometimes we don’t “feel” joyful, peaceful or hopeful. Does that mean we’re any “less Christian” than when we did “feel good?” I once thought so, but after years of living the Christian life I finally figured out that my salvation and even my relationship with God has little or nothing to do with the way I feel at any given time. In fact, I think that faith is continuing to believe when your emotions are telling you not to.

      • I just want to thank you for tackling such a difficult topic. My heart also goes out to this family, and I will be praying for them. I know it affects not only the one suffering from depression, but also the loved ones. Katherine and Chuck Farley’s comments resonate with me. I struggled with depression from a chemical imbalance in college (posted under “My Lifeboat” at the bottom of my “About Me” page at kdmanestreet.wordpress.com). It wasn’t until later that I realized how much I bought into the lie of self-sufficiency, even though I was a Christian. And I learned some valuable lessons through that trial.

        • Thank you for your comments and for joining us in praying for Jordan’s family, K.D. I too have learned a lot (about depression) from reading the comments – very wise people!

  100. Powerful post. I want to share this message with others. Thank you for your insight into the problem of depression. — Patty

    • Thank you, Patty. I’m sure that, like me and everyone with ALS, you’ve dealt with depression too. I hope you are recovering from your injury and are no longer bedridden; that could get depressing.

  101. Thank you for this well-written and thoughtful post on Christianity and depression. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of this young man. I write about mental illness issues, Christianity and healthy living on my page, too. I was raised in a Christian home, but both my parents struggled with depression and other mental health/health issues. Soon, my siblings and I were also affected. We all coped in different ways. Our faith has kept us strong and moving forward and brought us through dark times. There is victory in the multitude of wise counsel. I think one of the best things we can do, especially as Christians, is not be afraid to talk about mental illness and depression. Depression is very real. I know from watching my mom struggle as I grew up. In the end, we all want the same thing… love and hope. Jesus is who gives that!

    • You obviously know a lot about this issue, Stephanie. I am going to read more of your posts. I agree with you about having a “multitude of (wise) counselors (“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14) As I’m learning, depression takes many forms, but all of them seek to isolate you from counselors.

      • Yes, that is so true. Good encouraging word. One of the most defining symptoms of depression is an overwhelming sense of loneliness or isolation. It is a huge lie, of course, but unfortunately part of the illness.

  102. Great post Bill. I can tell you that I have suffered from depression ever since I can remember. What is interesting is that the farther I get away from God, the worse it gets. Reading my Bible, being around others, prayer, these things keep me focused on the eternal versus me. Depression isolates and causes you to think about yourself, a lot. I can tell you that when I am focusing on others, I have no time to be depressed as long as my daily walk with Christ is solid. Thanks again for your post.

    • That is great advice, Bryan! I have also noticed that I must be outwardly-focused to keep from being down. My volunteering as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach and keeping up with this blog are ministry and therapy for me – activities like this are a constant reminder to me that I’m not the only one with problems. In a very real way, my attempt to give hope, gives me hope!

  103. “We must do the things our soul (mind, will and emotions) doesn’t “feel like doing” to build hope in our spirit – so our spirit can “preach” to our soul.”

    That’s the key. I battled severe depression for years, sometimes to the point of complete body shutdown, and people having to remind me to breathe. There comes a point where the medications just don’t work anymore. But when I started doing as you said (above quote), I started climbing my way out of the pit. The Lord won’t force us out of the pit, but should we decide its time to vacate, He will certainly help! And He did just that. Now that I know the warning signs of a depression coming on, I can quickly combat it with the tools of the spirit, instead of taking the easier route of surrendering to the quiet hush of depression. I’ve not suffered from depression, or been medicated, in well over a decade now. Praise God!

    Thanks for this blog post, I believe it will help many people. Blessings to you!

    • You have a lot of wisdom in this area, Sarah. I have heard from other long-time sufferers of depression that over time the medicines become less-and-less effective. I know you have already figured this out, but becoming like Christ (in all areas) usually involves doing the things we don’t “feel like” doing; I think this is what being a disciple (disciplined) is. I promised myself that if I ever became emotionally paralyzed by depression (like you were) I would lock myself in the room and listen to my audio-Bible four or five hours a day.

  104. I am off to work but so excited to come back and read a new post of yours!!! I started it and it is amazing!

  105. Thank you very much for linking to my post, Victoria.

  106. Thank you very much for the re-blog, Sr. Dorcee and for your kind words.

  107. Thank you for the re-blog, Jeanne.

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