If depression is the common cold of mental illness, what about Bible characters? Were they ever depressed? If I have some or many symptoms of depression outlined in the two previous blogs, am I different, strange, or even sinful ?
Think about Elijah. In I Kings 19, he ran for his life to escape queen Jezebel. Before the nation on Mt. Carmel he had put her pagan gods to the test. In fact, he had ridiculed them for their lack of response. But when she heard Elijah had killed her false prophets, Jezebel wanted him him to pay with his life. From the north to the south, he fled the distance of Palestine, ending in Beersheba. There, terrified and exhausted, he wanted to die.
What about Jonah? After successfully preaching to the enemy city of Ninevah, whose people repent, Jonah feels dismayed: God’s mercy wins out over His judgment. In the 4th chapter of the book, death would be better than this, he says.
Then there’s Jeremiah (chapter 20), not to mention Job (chapter 3). Because the people ridicule him for his treasonous preaching to give up to Babylon the enemy, Jeremiah curses his day of birth. because Job endures the loss of his flocks, herds, farm hands, children, and his health, Job also curses his day of birth. His life has become meaningless, pointless, and purposeless. He also wants to die.
How about Paul? In II Corinthians 1:8, he admits persecution by people hostile to Jesus led to a time in which he felt so overwhelmed, “we despaired even of life.”
Now that we’ve determined, that, yes, God’s greatest servants at times want to die, in our next blog we’ll look at ways God helped them overcome their despair.