Many people in today’s world experience stress and/or depression. Sometimes it seems there’s another stressor at every turn which makes you sink farther into your depression and doubt. Did you know there’s immediate help right in the pages of God’s word?
If you are a believer in God, you can find respite in the Bible. Many verses in the Bible address stress and depression. Philippians 4:6-7 is possibly the most famous passage that is often quoted: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The Bible also reminds you God is always there to help you through any circumstance. Psalm 55:22 says: Cast your cares on the Lord, he will sustain you. He will never let the righteous be shaken.
Quite often, the root cause of stress and depression is worry.
In 1 Peter 5:7, we find: Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
The Gospel of Matthew contains powerful Bible verses about worry.
- Matthew 6:25-34 says: Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Stress and depression can take all your energy.
When stress and depression take your energy, it can feel difficult to accomplish even the smallest task. When you are feeling this way, lean on Him! He is there for you! He wants the best for you.
- Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- John 16:33: 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.
- Isaiah 26:3: You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
- Romans 12:12: Rejoice even when things are tough. Put your hope in Christ, for he will never disappoint you. Be steadfast in prayer and hope for the best, especially in hard times. Through prayer, humility, hope, and thanksgiving, we must make our request known to God.
The Bible even reminds you that even though things are rough right now, they will get better. God has a plan for you!
- Matthew 11:28: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
- Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
- Psalm 40:2: He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
- Isaiah 43:18-20: Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
Stress and depression can make you feel lonely.
You might feel there is no one there for you. You also might feel you are the only one going through what you are experiencing, and no one would understand. God is there for you!
- Psalm 23:4 is a verse you can call on: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
- Isaiah 41:10 he promises: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Psalm 34:17-18: The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
- Psalm 9:10: Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. And he promises you can be strong with him by your side.
- Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Stress and depression can be scary.
Even if you’re an adult, depression and stress and be a scary thing to face. When you have God on your side, there is nothing you have to fear. If you place your trust in him, you can find strength!
- Psalm 34:18: The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. He is always alongside you even in the most difficult of situations and is always there to guide you on your path.
- Psalm 9:9: The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. You don’t have to go through this alone.
- Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
- 1 Peter 5:6-7: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. He will never leave you!
- Psalm 37:23-24: The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
- Psalm 91:2: This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
- 2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Stress and depression can make you feel like you’re not forgiven.
Stress and depression can put all kinds of thoughts in your head. You may feel this is your fault. You may feel you’ve done something to deserve this. You may also feel God will never forgive you. Take heart because the Bible tells us differently.
- Psalm 40: 1-2: I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
- Micah 5:19: You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
- Romans 8:38-39: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Stress and depression may steal all your focus.
With stress in depression in your face all the time, it might feel difficult to focus on anything else. But the Bible actually gives you other things to focus on!
- Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
- Matthew 6:33: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- Psalm 40:1-3: I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.
- Psalm 143:7-9: Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you.
You can study the Bible and find refuge in family and friends.
The good news is you probably have close friends or family members who have also had mental health struggles. They can help you along the path of experiencing God’s love. You can study the word of God together and seek their input about how the verses speak to them. They, along with his word, can help you find a path out.
- Psalm 143:8: Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
After you seek God in his word, you can help others with stress and depression.
After you have found comfort in God and in his word, he admonishes us to help others feeling the same things.
- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Contrary to occasional Christian thought, depression is not a sin. Depression is a mental illness, and you can’t control it without help. The first step is to reach out to a medical professional or other local resources to see what your treatment options are. And open your Bible to see what it has to say to you. There is lots of help and reassurance in its pages. As Romans 15:13 says: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.