Depression - Part V
“There hath no temptation (or test or trial) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.””—I Corinthians 10:13
It seems there can be a progression from disappointments to discouragement to depression if they are not handled biblically.
Disappointments can come from any number of sources. They can come from relationships, finances, health, work, church, sin, or wrong expectations. A person cannot always control the source of disappointment, but he can, and should, control how he reacts to them. If the disappointment is a result of personal failure, he should not try to hide it, cover it up, or blame someone else like Adam and Eve did (Gen. 3:7-13). He should repent of it and depend on God to help him overcome it. If it is a result of his wrong expectations, he should change his expectations to line up with the Word of God. If it is a result of an attack from Satan to undermine his faith, or a test from God, he should recognize the source and ask God what He is trying to teach him.
He should not try to escape the disappointment by turning to alcohol, drugs, immorality, tobacco, gambling, or other things in the world. Religious works, unforgiveness, feeling sorry for himself, complaining, or giving up and quitting are no better because all of these make things worse instead of better.
Many times God allows attacks from Satan as tests and trials to help the faith of believers to grow instead of destroying it (Rom. 5:3-5; James 1:2-4; II Peter 1:3-7).
Look at the following examples of disappointment in the Bible and see how these people dealt with them.
Because Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified, the disciples showed their disappointment by being:
How the disciples handled the crucifixion is contrasted in Peter and Judas. Peter repented and overcame his disappointments and, by continuing to believe in Christ, he avoided hopelessness and depression. But Judas allowed his disappointments to undermine his faith, and that led to depression and suicide.
- perplexed. They were at a loss of what to do and thought there was no way out (Luke 24:4).
- sad. They were gloomy with a mournful countenance (Luke 24:17).
- trusted. They had hoped He was the Messiah (Luke 24:21).
- astonished. They were beside themselves, amazed (Luke 24:22).
- terrified and affrighted (Luke 24:37).
- troubled. They were agitated, disturbed, stirred up and anxious (Luke 24:38).
- weeping (John 20:11, 13, 15).
- fearful (John 20:19).
- faithless (John 20:25, 27).
Jacob and Essau also struggled with disappointments. Jacob finally turned his faith toward God, but Essau continued to keep his faith in himself—something that can lead to discouragement and depression. Jacob’s disappointments included:
In these disappointments, Jacob wrestled, continuing with his faith in himself instead of putting it in the Lord. This is exemplified by the Lord wrestling with him and Jacob finally yielding his faith to the Lord. As a result, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which means “a Prince with God.” On the other hand, Essau, in his disappointment, continued living for himself and lost all hope in God.
- his father favoring Essau
- deceiving Essau for the birthright
- deceiving Isaac to get his blessing
- being deceived by Laban at his wedding (Jacob was given the wrong wife)
Joseph and his brothers are similar. His brothers allowed their disappointments—how Joseph was favored and later their guilt over how they had treated him—to undermine their faith and turn to hate and depression. Joseph’s disappointments included:
But Joseph turned to the Lord in his disappointments. He kept his faith as shown by the statement, “And the LORD was with Joseph” (Gen. 39:2, 3, 21, 23) which led to the following:
- His sister being raped and avenged by his brothers
- His mother’s death following the birth of his brother
- Hatred from his brothers after exposing their evil deeds and then chosen to receive the birthright
- Hated more by his brothers because of his dreams from God.
- Being sold into slavery by his brothers
- Being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and put in prison.
- Two additional years in prison after the butler forgot about him
In I Corinthians 10:13, God says that no trial is unique. God is involved in every trial, so it has a purpose. No trial exceeds a believer’s resources in God. God sets limits on every problem, so it is not impossible or hopeless. God will deliver, and God will provide strength and wisdom to overcome in victory.
- Potiphar making Joseph his overseer
- The jailer making Joseph manager of the prison
- Joseph interpreting the dreams of the butler and the baker
- Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams
- Joseph’s promotion to second in command in Egypt
- Joseph’s supervision over the seven years of plenty and seven years of famine
- Joseph bringing his whole family to Egypt.