Do Christians Ever Get Depressed? - The Warrior's Journey®

Do Christians Ever Get Depressed?

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us with the coming of Titus.”  (2 Corinthians 7:6) 

Do Christians ever get depressed? Not according to many of the Gospel songs and hymns the church has sung over the years. One famous song goes, “We should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.” And consider the titles of many other songs: “In My Heart there Rings a Melody,” “Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory,” “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” “We Come Rejoicing,” etc. One source states that there are 3,603 Christian songs with the theme of joy. So the message we get from our hymnals is that Christians should always be happy and never depressed. 

But here in 2 Corinthians, which is the most personal of Paul’s letters, we get a view of what really went on in an apostle’s heart. “We were burdened excessively beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). Later, in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, Paul describes himself as “afflicted in every way, …perplexed, …persecuted,” and “…struck down.” And here in chapter seven, Paul writes, “When we came to Macedonia, our flesh had no rest.  We were afflicted on every side, conflicts without and fears within. But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us with the coming of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:5-6). 

If you recall, the Corinthian church was very troubled. The church was infected with pride, false doctrine, divisions, and immorality. Paul prayed fervently for them and wrote at least four letters to correct their waywardness. First Corinthians is really his second letter to them.  Second Corinthians is actually his fourth. His lost third letter was the harshest of these epistles, which he sent by the firm hand of Titus. It was so forceful in its rebuke that Paul feared it might have backfired and caused more harm than good. This fear tormented Paul, especially when he received no word back from Titus. It appears that the devil took advantage of the situation and afflicted Paul with anxiety and depression. Then, suddenly, Titus came to Paul and informed him that things could not have gone better. Paul’s letter brought the Corinthians to tears, but they were tears of true repentance and zeal for God.  

Yes, God’s children get depressed sometimes. Just read the Psalms: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why are you so disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him” (Psalm 42-43). Yes, sometimes we need to take ourselves by the collar and do just that – tell ourselves to hope in God. For the day will come when we will again praise Him. In fact, Paul had already told us that when afflictions and depression come in like a flood, so will God’s comfort and encouragement (2 Corinthians 1:4-5). 


  • Did any prophets become depressed (Numbers 11, 1 Kings 19, Jonah 4)? 
  • If depression comes, what should we tell ourselves (Psalms 42:5,11; 43:5; 103)? 
  • If depression comes, what does God promise to do (2 Corinthians 7:6)? 

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