To the Depressed & Suicidal Christian,
“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” ~1 King 19: 4b
Beloved, depressed, Christian; you are not alone in your anguish and sorrow. This pain is not new to the earth, and therefore God and his people have overcome. Think of Elijah, the mighty prophet of the old testament; God used him in amazing ways and revealed Himself to Elijah many times, yet Elijah battled extreme depression and suicidal thoughts. This is the Valley of the Shadow of death God is bringing you through, but he will not leave you alone (Psalm 23:4).
Just a few verses before, in 1 Kings 18, God uses Elijah to prove He is real. Many self proclaimed prophets of earthly gods had gathered to battle Elijah and his God. They screamed, danced, and sacrificed to their gods, and nothing happened. Then Elijah looked over and said, “Are you done?” Fire came down from heaven and burnt the alters and all the false prophets. Elijah watched this happen on pure faith that God would show up. Oh the amount of faith he had! Then a couple verses later, he receives a death threat and crumbles to the ground, begging God to take his life. For anyone who is not or never has dealt with depression, this may be confusing. However, those of us who do, know what it’s like to come to the end of our ropes. It’s not always subtle; sometimes you are doing fine, and then your rope snaps. Elijah felt this, but God was there. You may be fighting to hold your rope together; fighting for your life. But where the rope ends, healing begins. It’s not until we have physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted ourselves that we truly let go and fall into the arms of God.
After falling off his rope, Elijah rested. God was there and cared for him, woke him and reminded him to eat and drink, then he rested again. We see this pattern: Rest, eat, drink, repeat. From the beginning, this was stitched into the DNA of existence. God doesn’t expect you to live like you don’t have depression, but instead, trust he is working through your darkness. Take life with God one step at a time; remember to eat, remember to rest. Take care of yourself as you are a temple of God. Just as diamonds are forged under pressure, God is forging you under your depression, held accountable by his sovereignty.
Don’t let the deceitful words of humanity convince you that you can’t follow God and be depressed. For many, it shakes their belief of a “happiness only” faith. It’s hard for others to understand that even though you are depressed, you are more wholeheartedly following God. Even more read through the Bible and surpass the passages displaying depression because they don’t understand the circumstances, and pass it off as “being tired”. You can’t soak up the nutrients of a passage if you don’t require it at the moment. Precisely why you can’t read the Bible through only once and claim to understand everything in it.
And lastly, Dear Depressed and Suicidal Christian, know you are not alone. God provides for you in so many ways to help you survive. He wants you to thrive. Just as the Angel appeared to Elijah to feed him, so has God placed people in your life to care for you. If you are still fighting, I pray you let your rope snap. Come to the end of yourself so you can heal in God. Do not be so consumed that you can’t see God’s hand reaching out to you. He is writing you an incredible story, I pray you will see that you can live to be incredible. Just as dawn comes after the night, so does Joy come from your depression, no matter how long your darkness lasts.
Verses that can help with Depression:
1 Corinthians 10:13
2 Timothy 1:7
Books and Resources that can help with Depression:
Switch on your brain – Dr. Carolina Leaf
When the Darkness Will Not Lift – John Piper
Christians Get Depressed Too – David Murray
Family and Friends
***Disclaimer: Please understand that I am not a doctor or psychologist. This should be used as a helpful resource and not a prescription. If you are having suicidal thoughts and need help, please call 800-273-8255 or 911.