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Healing & Well-Being

21 Bible Verses To Help You Through Difficult Times and Depression

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It's quite normal to experience depression or sadness. It can come from major stresses, including job loss, financial difficulties, extended illnesses, a death in the family, or relationship breakdown. Sometimes depression can just appear completely unexpected. 

The National Institute of Mental Health estimated that at least 17.3 million (or 7.1%) of American adults will experience at least one episode of depression each year. The American Psychological Association also identified the COVID-19 pandemic as an added health crisis because of the psychological impact it had on millions of people worldwide. 

Rates of depression soared, with extended lockdowns, job losses, financial hardship, and grief as many of our loved ones lost their lives to the virus. Many Americans reported their dietary habits had changed, they were drinking more alcohol to cope with stress, and many weren't sleeping properly.

There's no shame in having mental health struggles at different periods. Many of us will experience generalized sadness or depression at different times. You can also consider a struggle with sadness or depression as part of your daily reality. In essence, we are facing evil forces with the potential to harm us spiritually. You can turn to the Bible for inspiration and assistance during these challenging times.

What’s depression, and how is it different from sadness?

Sadness and anxiety can be a normal, temporary response to life stresses or major life changes, including childbirth, financial difficulties, unemployment, homelessness, a medical diagnosis, catastrophic injuries, or aging milestones like menopause. Even moving to a new house can disrupt your mood.

Many people with depression also feel fear regarding future or persistent anxiety. Other symptoms of depression and anxiety include having a general feeling that something bad is about to happen along with general restlessness and irritability. 

Depressed people often have difficulty concentrating, experience sleep problems, and can feel on edge all the time. They may have difficulty concentrating at work or study and may lose their appetite and energy.

Depression differs from sadness in that it's more extended and often more severe. People with severe depression experience feelings of hopelessness. If you think that your depression has become serious, you need to seek immediate medical help and look into useful therapy or medication options. 

Those suffering from mild to moderate depression can tap into their Christian faith to help. Periods of ongoing sadness, negative thoughts, and depressive feelings are when your spiritual well-being is under attack. At times like these, you have to lean on your faith in Jesus Christ to get you through.

The Bible talks about putting on the armor of God to protect against any form of evil or negativity. 

In the Bible, Jesus calms the storm, He casts demons out of a man possessed by evil spirits, and the possessed man walks free. This story is a great example of how the Lord gives strength to his people. The possessed man is returned to sanity and returns to his village to tell others about the miracle that Jesus performed.

Listening to this podcast on how to overcome depression can also lift you up. It starts by leading you on a guided meditation and reminding you that you are safe. Remember, if you ask for help, God is always there.

You can think of your depression and negative thoughts as something you can fight against using prayer and meditation. There are lots of prayers for protection, which can help. 

You can start by including these in your nightly prayers, or as a part of your daily meditation. 

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The best Bible verses to soothe your soul

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In these troubling times, it’s not unexpected that many Christians will turn to God to relieve their stresses. We’ve selected 21 of the most powerful Bible verses to lift you up during times of trouble.

  1. Psalm 23:4 - “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.”
  2. Psalm 3:3 – But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
  3. Psalm 9:9 - The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
  4. Psalm 30:11 - You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
  5. Psalm 34:17-18 - The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
  6. 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.
  7. Psalm 42:11 - Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation, and my God.
  8. 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.
  9. Deuteronomy 31:8 - “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
  10. Isaiah 40:31 - but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.
  11. Isaiah 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  12. Philippians 4:6-7 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 
  15. 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.
  16. 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.”
  17. Timothy 1:7 - For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.
  18. Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
  19. Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
  20. Corinthians 1:3-4 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
  21. 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.

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Turn to God when times are tough

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During the pandemic, global depression increased significantly. Many people lost loved ones, livelihoods, and struggled with months of isolation during lockdowns. 

Major depression differs from sadness in that it can be more severe and can last much longer. It's quite normal to experience grief and anxiety after a major loss in our life. 

Many Christians will turn to the Word of God for support during times of crisis. In really dark times, Psalm 23:4 can provide the most comfort: “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.”

Turning to the Holy Spirit can give you the strength and hope to get through these tough periods.

If you want to learn more about reading the Bible,  download the app — for daily prayer, bedtime Bible stories, and more — on Google Play and the iOS App Store.

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