How Do I Deal with Depression? – Psalm 42

Depression is a serious mental health condition that can drain the joy, hope, and purpose from a person’s life. It can make us feel isolated, overwhelmed, and even question the goodness of God. Studies show that 264 million people worldwide live with depression. What does that mean for you? You are not alone. Depression is called the common cold of the soul. I’m not a counselor or a doctor, but I pray that through the power of the Word you will find help for yourself and others. Here are three steps for dealing with depression that are taken from Psalm 42.

Admit the Problem

If you are going to deal with how you feel, you have to admit it. That is what the Psalmist is doing. He says he is dejected and in is turmoil (v. 5) and then plainly says, “I am deeply depressed” (v. 6). Some of the greatest figures in the Bible, such as David, Elijah, and Job, experienced deep despair and depression. Depression is not a sin but a sickness. It is not a sin to be sick. We don’t think less of people who have physical ailments, and there should not be a stigma associated with depression. Job, Moses, Jonah, and Elijah were all so depressed that they all prayed to die. When the Bible paints a portrait of the men and women of faith, it is not photoshopped! You see their struggles and battles. They were all honest enough to admit it. Good people, godly people, great people get depressed. David wrote about it. He acknowledges it. Don’t hide it. Don’t try to deal with it by yourself.

Assess the Causes

It is not always possible to pinpoint one particular cause of depression. It is complex and multifaceted. God made us body, soul, and spirit. To only approach the subject as physical, mental, or spiritual is shortsighted. Depression and burnout are to the mind what sickness and disease are to the body. There is usually a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual factors coming into play. Ten times in Psalm 42 & 43 the question is asked, “Why?”. Asking why is legitimate if you are not feeling good. If you are sick or suffering shouldn’t you find out why? What are the physical triggers? Are you exhausted or overloaded? With Elijah, he needed to sleep and eat (1 Kings 19:5-7). What are the emotional triggers? The Psalmist feels forgotten and lonely (Ps. 42:9). Job had been reduced until there was nothing left. What are the spiritual triggers? David was not able to go to the temple. He did not feel as close to God as he once did. It is ok to not be ok. We are totally understanding when someone gets the flu or Covid or breaks a bone.  We should be totally understanding when someone breaks mentally or emotionally. Your illness is not your identity!  Job, Moses, Jonah, Elijah, David, Jeremiah, Solomon, and John the Baptist all battled depression but that is not what they are remembered for.

Apply the Solutions

When your life belongs to God, your problems belong to God!  When life is out of our control God is still in control! Don’t give in or give up. You are going to make it! The devil wants you to have a breakdown. God wants you to have a breakthrough! You have to fight depression just like you fight cancer! Moses was working day and night. God told him to bring men to help carry the burden (Num. 11:14-17). God gave Elijah a project and a partner (1 Kings 9:9-16). God can heal you instantly but more times than not it is a process. There is purpose in the pain. Your greatest ministry always comes out of your greatest misery. Look at how the Psalm ends: “Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God” (Ps. 42:11). Yet praise Him is a statement of faith.  His circumstances had not changed but his outlook had changed. Hope is an expectation, an anticipation of what you are looking forward to. The best is yet to come if you can say Jesus is my savior and my God. Can you say that? Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Some of you today need to come to God. Others may need to come back to God. With Him, there is hope for your depression!

Works Consulted:

Out of the Cave, Chris Hodges

How to Deal with How You Feel, James Merritt

God’s Answers to Life’s Questions, Rick Warren



Next Post
How Do I Answer Questions About Sexuality?
Previous Post
What Does It Mean That We Are “More Than Conquerors”? – Romans 8:31-39

Join us This Weekend

Sermon Series