God, depression and hope?

Resurgence is doing a series on God & Depression based on Psalms 42 & 43.

I was very excited when I saw the first post – I love the Psalms and I think they tap into human emotions so well. I think the Psalms are a great example of how to express emotions in prayer to God. I particularly think they are helpful for people with depression.

Psalms 42 & 43 are great examples of this so I love that Resurgence are doing this series. However this comment in the latest post concerns me

We cannot live without hope, but there are countless things to hope in. Much of our depression may come from misplacing our hopes as we place too much hope in things which are not God. The Psalmist takes a look at what he has been hoping in — a revealing and convicting thing to do. We will find we need to repent for having our hearts set on things other than God, and in this way, bringing depression on ourselves. [emphasis mine]

This statement might be true for some people but not for everyone. And it seems like terrible advice to give to someone who is dealing with depression – surely telling them they need to repent of their depression (which is what they will hear you saying) is only going to make things harder for them. As for ‘bringing depression on ourselves’ – this is not the case for everyone. Depression is a medical illness for some and needs to be seen and treated as such.

I have read Psalms 42 & 43 over and over. I see no repentance expressed here. But what is beautiful is that 3 times across these Psalms the psalmist express his distress and immediate follows with the statement that his hope is indeed in God, his saviour. That is exactly the turmoil of depression – knowing that we have hope is God but feeling nothing but turmoil and an utter lack of hope. This problem needs grace, love and patience but not repentance.

Why am I so depressed?
Why is this turmoil within me?
Put your hop in God, for I will still praise him,
My saviour and my God.          (Psalm 42:5,11 & 43:5)



3 thoughts on “God, depression and hope?

  1. When I was at the worst point of depression in my life, i kept three bookmarks in the Psalms (starting at 1, 50 and 100). I would read one at each mealtime of the day. It was a lifeline.

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