If God Is With Me, Why Do I Feel Depressed?

Depression is a mental illness that l live with every day. l was officially diagnosed with depression three years ago after l became burnout from my work as a teacher.

Here’s how I would describe my depressive episodes: My mind feels like it’s been overtaken by negative emotions and thoughts, such as sadness and futility. The onslaught either comes in sudden waves or l sink slowly into a miry pit of despair and helplessness that can last for weeks at a time.

When the depression is at its worst, l become either emotionally numb or undergo intense psychological anguish. I find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time and become easily overwhelmed. Seeing others around me living and enjoying life gives me heartache because l feel like a spectator standing alone on the sidelines.

To combat depression, l’ve chosen not to take antidepressants; instead, l prefer to eat healthily and exercise. I try to avoid stress and seek professional help on a regular basis.

Ultimately, I believe in the power of the Great Doctor to heal. Thus, I spend lots of time reading the Bible and memorizing Scripture. Whenever l experience mental turmoil,  I speak aloud the Bible verses that correspond to my situation: During bouts of fear, l speak Isaiah 41:10; when l am overwhelmed, l speak Isaiah 26:3; and when l feel myself sinking into the murky depths of mental darkness, l recall Psalm 40:1-3. I believe these verses work within me as I speak them aloud and help me keep my focus on God. I also am grateful to have people in my church who pray regularly for me.

Though I believe that I will receive complete healing when Jesus returns again,  l also believe that God can heal me today and wants me to enjoy life “to the full” (John 10:10) while I’m here on earth. Thus, l thank God for His goodness and present my prayers and petitions to Him (Philippians 4:6). Every day, l wait with hopeful expectation for deliverance (Micah 7:7).


I’m not defined by how I feel

Having depression holds me back from leading a healthy, functioning life. In particular, l feel like God has called me to start a writing ministry, but l struggle to find the strength and concentration to sit down at the keyboard.

During such times, l ask myself why God doesn’t heal me so that l can do His work. However, when l consider the numerous individuals in the Bible whom God entrusted to further His Kingdom, who suffered from sorrow, anguish and desolation, I realize that if God can use them, surely He can use me?

In Psalm 69:1-2, David relates his feelings of despair and distress as being akin to sinking into deep murky waters with no foothold. Yet God considered David “a man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), and anointed him as King over a united Israel, gave him many victories over his enemies, and made a lasting covenant with him.

Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet” (Jeremiah 9:1), cursed the day he was born because of the loneliness, ridicule, and rejection he experienced (Jeremiah 20:14). Despite that, God called Jeremiah to be a “prophet of the nations” (Jeremiah 1:4-10) who revealed the sins of the people of Judah and the consequences of their idol worship.

Even Jesus, on the eve of His crucifixion, confided His feelings of distress and anguish to Peter, James, and John in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:34). Where would we be today if He did not go all the way to the cross?

These individuals’ refusal to allow their emotional state to hinder their obedience to God in walking out His purpose for their lives motivate me to keep writing on days when my mind wants to give in to the darkness. It reminds me to let God, not depression, define me and His will for me.


Learning to trust Him in the dark

Many a night, l have lain awake and cried out to God in distress for healing.

When the darkness did not lift, l had to make a decision: If God wants me to endure this season, then l can either choose to love Him and trust that He will work out everything for my good (Romans 8:28), or l can turn away from Him and fend for myself.  Considering that my life was a total mess before l entered into a relationship with Christ, the latter was a poor option.

During the times when l sit emotionally (and physically) in the dark, l remember what God has spoken to me in the light: He will not test me beyond my endurance (1 Corinthians 10:13) and He will never fail me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). With these reminders in mind, l choose to trust, lean on, and rely on Him.

Since I’ve put on eyes of faith, l’m now able to see God’s grace, provision, and favor instead of my struggle. He has blessed me with kind doctors, provided financial provision, and enabled me to write productively, for which l am truly grateful.


Reaching out to others

One of the ways God has provided for me is through a Christian counselor who attends my church. She specializes in depression and can empathize with her patients, as she used to struggle with depression herself.

This counselor’s healing testimony encourages me that God can heal me as He healed her, but more importantly, l take comfort in knowing that I have someone l can talk to who knows firsthand what l am going through.

Since then, I’ve started to turn my focus away from myself and ask: Is there someone around me with depression whom l can be a testimony and friend to?

Though this season is challenging, I believe in the goodness of God and His healing. I know that He is with me and nothing, especially depression, will keep me from His love (Romans 8:38-39).

l will continue to have faith that God has a wonderful purpose for me; depression is only part of the journey He wants me to take in order to fulfill His plan for my life. And in the meantime, l will enter His rest, and watch with hope and expectation for His restoration.

If you also suffer from depression, my heartfelt prayers are with you. I invite you to join me in believing that this is not the end of our story; God says that He is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) and that He will mend us and bind up our wounds (Psalm 147:3).

He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and pain and mourning will be ours to suffer no more, for He will make those things pass away (Revelation 21:4). I have faith that on that day, we will experience true joy—one that lasts for all eternity.

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12 replies
  1. Mary Zimmer
    Mary Zimmer says:

    2Corinthians 12:9-10 – God still use us even in our weaknesses for His greater glory 🙂 we can boast that we have a great God who fights our battles

  2. Vecio Nandes
    Vecio Nandes says:

    I’m not sure that the purpose of life is to be happy.
    Psalm 88 is one of the saddest pages of the entire Bible. And there’s is a lot of similar passages in the book that exposes the painful feelings of believers of past ages. The contemporaneous preaching based on self-help, search of happiness and so on, is contrary to the biblical narrative.
    As we already know, we are clearly admonished by our Master:
    ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’
    John 16:33

    • Heather
      Heather says:

      Yes, you’re right in that the purpose of life isn’t to be happy; thankfully, having biblical joy is a natural bi-product of knowing Christ and that blessing can’t compare with the up and down moments of happiness and disagreeable times. I came by this blog because I want to understand what is Christians mean when using words like depression, mental health and the like. Madeline is right when referring to David, Jeremiah, Jesus and more who went through extreme times of surrender. Yes, Christians need to expect problems – and the victory when we do things His way:)

  3. Lucy Huang
    Lucy Huang says:

    It’s hard. I’m a Christian. I had depression two years ago. But I’ve been healed by multiple ways of treatment, thanks to God. This suffering made my life renewed: thinking style, lifestyle, rediscover myself, deep connection with God…Now I have a much clear understanding of my strengths and weaknesses, I’m using my experience to help those who have similar pains.

  4. Blake
    Blake says:

    I think I might be having depression myself right now. But I have no therapist, counselor not even in my town, let alone in my church. I have literally no one to talk to. The only Christian counselor is too much money and it’s in another city really far away. I’ve got nothing. And I cannot exist like this anymore. I’m probably too weak but it is what it is. I’m 20 years old and I already have no purpose or plans or vision for my future. Shocking and traumatic things have happened over the past two years in my life because of other christians. I’m lonely and feel unheard and I know no one actually cares or can help. I’m tired of trying to find what God wants from me.

    • Maggie
      Maggie says:

      You may feel lonely but God is with you at all times. Continue to have faith and God will guide you to better things in life. Remember feelings are temporary

    • Sandy R
      Sandy R says:

      Blake, I don’t know if you ever return to this page, but if you do, please believe me, I know exactly how you feel. I am way older than you, but I grew up with a mother who was bi-polar. Sadly, this runs in our family. My mother made me walk on eggshells because of her sickness, making me a very, very angry person for too many years. When I was 24 years old, so desperate and depressed, and seriously suicidal, one night in my bedroom, when I was crying out to God, he filled me with his spirit, like those in the book of Acts. I had no idea what all my experience meant, but I finally found a church that believed and practiced my experience, and what I saw the Bible’s meaning of. I went through alot with people in that church, those who were really not born-again, as well as my going through more than one divorce from unfaithful,and addicted husbands. I seemed to be one to want to fix everyone, since I was so full of pain for so long. There are therapist out there who can help you, but you have to ask, make phone call,ask some more,, and do the research, but there is help for low income people, like myself. There is a sliding scale, also you can call the suicide hotline, tell them you are very depressed, that you need help NOW, but can’t afford it.United Way also has a sliding scale program, among several agencies. At one time I paid $5.00 per visit, now I pay $10.00. I have been in a slump all day today. Thankfully, I will see my therapist tomorrow. Hang in there. You can do this with the Lord’s help. If you can’t find support in the church you are attending, search for one that will support you with your depression, and who will sincerely pray for you. There are many prayers warriors out there, people who are real with their relationship with Jesus, and will listen to your concerns, and plead for help. I have been through a living hell in my life, but I am sticking it out with Jesus, because there is nothing else that will help me like he does, the HOPE that living for him gives to me. I have lost a child, and my mother died in the same year, divorced several times, with one husband trying his hardest to murder me and our son. I have gone through difficult times with my surviving children, grand-children, my family being ripped apart, mean and hateful family members and so-called friends of all beliefs, financial problems, bad health issues, on and on.When Jesus asked the remaining disciples would they leave him like those who had recently walked away, they said, “Lord, where else would we go?” Until you feel that way about him, you are not yet feeling how much he adores you, and yearns to help you draw closer to him. May the Lord bless you, keep you safe, and teach you the ways that you should go. Don’t shorten your life because of your emotions that fluctuate constantly, but rather try to focus on learning more and more about your father, your creator, and the future he has for you. Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, Acts 2:38,39, Acts 10. Psalms 32.

    • Karen Kalasy
      Karen Kalasy says:

      Hi Blake, I understand as stuff happened to me 4 years ago iny last church. I have forgiven but the trauma doesn’t always go right away. I hope you are finding peace.

  5. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    I found this while searching why would God want his children to be depressed and lonely. I have had severe depression for years. I have been through so much pain and heartache with my family and I wonder, why am I here? I am a Christian who cries out to God continually but I’m not getting answers. I appreciate your article so much. I am striving to stay strong in the faith but it is a struggle. Thank you for sharing your story.


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