“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry… ‘Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ But the Lord replied, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’”– Jonah 4: 1, 3-4
Some people find renewed hope and meaning in the new year, while others see the start of just another year of sadness and missed expectations. Still others will begin this new decade, struggling with depression. If you’re entering 2020 feeling a little beat up, then you’re not alone.
The prophet Jonah walked through a season of depression. Having just witnessed the entire city of Nineveh immediately repent and cry out to God after a one sentence sermon, Jonah should have been overjoyed. Instead, he was upset and frustrated. You see, the people of Nineveh were incredibly wicked and Jonah preferred they meet God’s judgement rather than His mercy. When things didn’t go according to JONAH’S plan, his anger turned inward and he became depressed.
Jonah’s depression wasn’t a chemical depression that many struggle with today. This was the type of depression that appears when life isn’t going the way we think it should. It’s when discouragement and unresolved anger builds and eventually turns into depression. But Jonah wasn’t the only Biblical prophet to struggle with depression.
After Moses led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt, he spent 40 years in the wilderness listening to the people complain. Eventually it became too much and Moses wanted nothing more than to die. Elijah, perhaps the greatest prophet in the Bible, went from a literal mountaintop experience witnessing God defeat the prophets of Baal to running for his life. Fear coupled with exhaustion led him into a deep depression. Then there’s Job who suddenly lost his children, his livelihood, his health and wealth. It’s understandable that Job found himself contemplating if life was worth living. In spite of such difficult circumstances, each story shows how God helped them through those tough seasons. And yet today, their lives and stories are remembered as “greats” of the faith.
What do you do when life doesn’t meet your expectations? If you’re struggling with depression, then you’re not alone. Go to God and ask Him for perspective. Ask Him for the strength to seek help and to leave this season stronger than you began. You’re not alone in your depression. Hold onto hope!