Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why are thou disquieted in me?… O my God, my soul is cast down within me.”

Depression is one of the major problems in society today. Millions upon millions of people are depressed, some so much that suicide is one of the major causes of death. Among the young people in particular, suicide is one of the leading causes of death and this among those who should have so much to live for.

Depression is not new. It is as old as Cain. God asked Cain, “Why is thy countenance fallen?” Jonah was so depressed that he said, “O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live”.

Elijah expressed similar words when he was depressed. He said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers”. King Ahab we are told, “came into his house heavy and displeased… and he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread”.

We see that depression strikes almost all of us, from the king to the servant, both the righteous and the wicked.

Now the causes for depression are as many as there are people who are depressed. Some kinds of depression are caused by wrong living and a conscience that lets us know that we are not doing what we ought. This was certainly the case with Cain, for God pleaded with him to change his ways and God would accept his sacrifice. Unfortunately, he chose to compound his problem by killing his brother. This is one of the out workings of depression: it often leads to violence.

There are angry people today who are willing to take out their frustrations on others by senseless killings. We all realize that this is not the answer. If depression is caused by wrong doing, then repentance is the cure. A complete surrender of self to God will bring amazing results. Even the wicked king Ahab, when confronted with his sins, “rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly”.

Perhaps more of us can identify with the depression of Elijah. He felt so alone. He was trying to do right but he felt he was fighting a losing battle. In the rat race of life, all the rats were winning. Things looked hopeless to Elijah but not to God. It is the same today. How thrilled we would be to learn that there are 7,000 who believe and are living the truth that we don’t even know about! God told Elijah this encouraging statistic, but God did not tell him where they were.

We preach and no one comes. We mail out correspondence courses, but they do not answer. We teach Sunday School but there are no visible results and we get depressed. This is how Elijah must have felt. It was the way David felt. They said to David, “Where is thy God?” This caused David to weep for he says, “My tears have been my meat day and night”.

The way to get over our depression is to throw ourselves into the Lord’s work, to get busy and let God do the rest. This is what God told Elijah to do: get up and get going; he had work to do. Jonah’s depression came after he had completed his preaching effort. It is only those who endure to the end that will be saved. Take a deep breath and get to work, doing something positive for the Lord. He will be pleased with our efforts even if it doesn’t seem that we are making any progress.

Read Psalms 42 and 43 and we will get the answer to our depression: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”