How to Conquer Disappointments, Discouragement and Depression.
Most people have encountered disappointments in their lives at one time or another; quite a few become discouraged; others begin to suffer from a mild or even deep depression; and then there are those who entertain the thoughts of suicide and might even go through with it. Great biblical heroes were not immune from falling into depression and even from entertaining suicidal ideas.
In our recent Q&A, we stated the following:
“What circumstances would give rise to such a thought? Perhaps someone has an incurable disease (by man’s reckoning) and is in such severe pain that it seems to be the only way out of a terrible situation? Or someone doesn’t think him- or herself worthy of God’s calling and cannot reconcile the fact that he or she is a sinner who doesn’t seem to be making any progress in his or her life, perhaps even going backwards? What about someone who experiences demonic activity in his or her life which presses that individual to take such action as a way out of this misery? Drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, depression, family issues, bullying and marital and financial problems can also be reasons why suicide might seem to be the answer, but it never is…
“Suicidal thoughts can happen to the best of people. Towards the end of his life, Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 2:17: ‘Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind…’
“Both Elijah [1 Kings 19:4] and Jonah [Jonah 4:1-3] at one point wanted to die; Jeremiah encountered serious moments of despair (note Jeremiah 15:10, 17-18; 20:14-18); and the apostle Paul and his friends were under significant pressure at times. We read in 2 Corinthians 1:8: ‘For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.’”
In addition, Moses argued with God at a time when he felt that his task, responsibility, or job was too difficult for him and so he was willing to give up (Numbers 11:11-15). Moses thought that death was a relief from his trials. When Job was being tested, he experienced momentary feelings of depression, wishing he was dead. He even stated during this time of frustration and hopelessness, that it would have been better if he had never been born (Job 3:11, 13, 20-22; 7:11-15; 10:18-21).
We said in our comments to an article about suicide in the Current Events section:
“Factors might be involved which may lead a desperate person to perform that terrible step [of committing suicide], including the horrors of wars and their evil consequences [regarding veterans who return from war and experience terrible nightmares], as well as the inability to find work or adequate health insurance.”
We also pointed out in our StandingWatch program on suicide, titled, “Suicide—Why…and How to Prevent It?,” that one leading cause is depression.
We must be sure that we do not allow disappointment, discouragement or even depression to bring us to the point of entertaining, let alone committing, suicide. We should try to conquer and fight disappointment and discouragement right away and not allow those emotions to fester in our minds and lives.
In our free booklet, “Human Suffering, Why… and How Much Longer?”, we state the following in chapter 7, “Discouragement and How to Conquer It”:
“All of us have become discouraged at times, especially during severe trials and suffering. We may even question why we are here, what we are doing, and what is the purpose of it all. We all have experienced, to some degree, those nagging feelings of despair, helplessness, or even hopelessness. Life may not seem to make any sense, and what difference does it make, anyway? We may be tempted to just give up, throw in the towel, walk away from whatever we are struggling with. We may ask ourselves, What’s the use? Why go on like this?…
“But in moments of despair, frustration, hopelessness and depression, GOD IS STILL THERE! God has not left us… God is watching over His people, and He is there to help us, giving us strength and encouragement to go on and reach our ultimate goal—entrance into His Kingdom…
“Many times, the conditions in which we find ourselves seem to be hopeless… Rather than looking at our physical circumstances, which can and will make us depressed, we must look at the living Christ…, leading us out of our trials and suffering—the physical realm—to a spiritual understanding, which goes far beyond what the human brain may grasp. When we are depressed in this life, we need to focus on our future. God is always there to encourage us. And the greatest encouragement He could possibly give us, is to reassure us and to remind us of our future… Once we have entered our ultimate human potential, we will be free from pain, suffering, disease, sickness and disappointment. All sufferings will be a thing of the past. God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and crying and pain won’t exist anymore for us (compare Revelation 21:4).”
But “just” having hope in our ultimate painless future, when having become a God being, may not be enough to deal with the pain and suffering which we might be experiencing right now. We would love to be strengthened, encouraged and freed from depression right now, rather than having to wait a long time for such deliverance.
And so, we are addressing the “here and now” in our free booklet, “Sickness and Healing – What the Bible Tells Us”. First, we explain how we CANNOT and WILL NOT find comfort and freedom from discouragement and depression:
“Today’s ‘science of psychology’ is operating from a fundamentally wrong foundation, and as such, very few, if any, will receive lasting help from such treatment… Clinical depression may well be, amongst other things, the end result of a development beginning with feelings of temporary frustration and self-pity. Rather than fighting and overcoming those feelings, affected people are often told by medical ‘experts’ to concentrate on their own selves and to bolster and inflate their ego—their inner self—thus developing a better ‘self-esteem.’ At the same time, they are told to place the blame for their condition on others, including parents, friends, relatives, or society as a whole. THAT, however, is the surest way NOT to overcome depression!
“The feeling of self-pity, the ‘woe-is-me syndrome,’ may even lead to suicide if not overcome in time. Judas committed suicide when he realized what he had done. Rather than truly repent in a godly way and rather than seek help from GOD to go on, he succumbed to his own grief and took his own life (see Matthew 27:3-5).”
What, then, IS the way out of disappointment, discouragement and depression? Continuing with the above-quoted booklet, we state:
“… we must look to God for help and we must develop a love for others, the same kind of love God has for humanity… When we focus on others and how we can help them, we are less concerned about and occupied with ourselves—what WE are and what WE can get from others. It is in giving to others that we are ‘more blessed’ and happier persons… It may seem to be a contradiction, but if we concentrate on others and how we can help them, we WILL become happier persons ourselves. This is the godly way of overcoming depression. It includes forgiving others of what they might have done to us, recognizing that we have done wrong things to others as well (compare Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13). It includes an understanding that true love ‘covers all sins’ (Proverbs 10:12)…
“Depression originates from Satan. We are told to resist Satan, and he—with his destructive feelings—will flee from us (James 4:7). We must submit to God and He will lift us up (James 4:7-10), which is to say that He will give us comfort, consolation [and] happiness… Christ never allowed Satan’s feelings of frustration, hopelessness and depression to find a place in His mind… He came to share His love with us so that we could overcome depression and become happier persons…”
There can be no doubt that Satan’s evil influence and his thoughts of frustration, disappointment and depression with which he bombards us on a daily basis are much responsible for a desperate state of mind. That is especially true when we approach God’s annual Holy Days which picture God’s plan for mankind. Satan hates God’s plan and His Holy Days as he knows that they reveal his fate—that he will ultimately be replaced as the ruler over this world—and his anger becomes more and more unleashed as he sees that the Day of Christ’s Return is very near.
Christ came to do the Work and the Will of God (John 17:4; John 4:34). He was totally filled with this desire so that He simply did not ALLOW thoughts of disappointment, frustration, discouragement or depression to enter His mind and to overpower Him. A sure way out of frustration and depression is to be heavily involved in God’s Work. God is having His Work done today in an effort to proclaim the good news of His Kingdom; to warn mankind of impending disaster; and to help those in despair to find rest and peace for their souls (Matthew 11:28; Philippians 4:7). Ask yourself what you can do to assist in God’s most important Work. And if you have questions in this regard, just ask us for further input.
But there is another additional and most powerful godly tool of which we should avail ourselves to conquer frustration, discouragement and depression.
We continue to state in our above-mentioned booklet:
“One possible cause of depression is worry—worry about the future, worry about the present, worry about the past. Such worry is unwise and can make us physically [as well as spiritually and mentally] ill. Proverbs 12:25 warns: ‘Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.’ So we must be careful not to worry needlessly about things we can’t change. Most of our worries never even come to pass…
“The effect of a ‘heavy’ or ‘broken’ or ‘depressed’ spirit on the body is also emphasized in Proverbs 17:22: ‘A merry heart does good like medicine… But a broken spirit dries the bones.’ Proverbs 18:14 elaborates: ‘The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit?’ This shows that a strong spirit can contribute to the healing process of a sick person, whereas a broken or depressed spirit might delay and even prevent healing…
“Today, when we look, in spirit, with deep and genuine repentance at Christ’s suffering and death on the cross, we can obtain forgiveness and healing. We don’t have to continue in sickness and fear of death, physically and, more importantly, spiritually. The spiritual aspect of ‘healing’ must not be overlooked. Christ suffered and died for us, so that we can have both physical and spiritual healing…”
In fact, Christ gave His life so that we can be healed spiritually—which includes receiving healing from spiritual and mental sickness including depression. What then ought a spiritually “sick” person do to be freed from depression and destructive, frustrating thoughts—in addition to replacing them with constructive, positive, uplifting and encouraging thoughts (compare Philippians 4:8)?
Continuing with our booklet:
“When we are in need of spiritual healing, we must understand that… God can provide such healing, but He does do so, many times, through His trusted and faithful ministers (James 5:14). We are not to place our faith in God’s faithful ministry, however, but we must place our faith in God. Still, God has established certain procedures… that need to be applied and that involve His ministry, when it comes to physical, as well as spiritual healing…
“We find that when Christ’s disciples anointed a sick person with oil, the sick person was healed (compare Mark 6:12–13). In order to receive the benefit of God’s healing today, God’s ministers are instructed by God to anoint sick persons with oil (James 5:14) [and to lay hands on them (Mark 16:18)]…
“Some may wonder whether God has promised to heal only converted members of His church… The answer is ‘No’… The Bible is very clear that God heals sick people who try to obey God and who have faith that He will heal them. He tells us in Exodus 15:26, ‘If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.’…
“Many times, a ministerial visit may not be possible, as the sick person might live in a remote area. If this is the case, then elders are permitted to pray over a cloth, anointing it with a drop of oil as the symbol of the Holy Spirit [laying hands on the cloth] and asking God to heal the sick person who will receive this cloth. This is based on numerous passages in the Bible, showing us that people were healed when they touched the garments of Christ (Mark 6:56) or the aprons or handkerchiefs from Paul’s body (Acts 19:12)…
“It is necessary… that the sick person has faith in the sacrifice of Christ, believing that he or she will be healed by God because of what Christ did for us. We find that Christ healed many people who were not converted… If a sick person asks one of our ministers for anointing or an anointed cloth, believing that God will heal them, they will receive what they request. God commanded His servants to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God and to ‘heal the sick’ (Matthew 10:8; Luke 9:2; 10:9).
“If a sick person has the faith in God to be healed, they should take advantage of the tremendous benefit that God bestows on us to heal us from our sicknesses and diseases. Our sicknesses are important in God’s eyes. If we are suffering with a sickness, let us ask God for His intervention. After all, He is the God Who heals us!”
This most certainly applies to physical as well as spiritual and mental sickness and impairments, such as depression. If you are in such a situation, don’t delay, but turn to God in faith, with heart-rending prayer and fasting, and avail yourself of His free beneficial offer to heal you from lingering thoughts of disappointment, frustration and depression. And He tells you that HE WILL heal you. Don’t doubt, but just believe (Matthew 21:21-22; James 1:6).
Lead Writer: Norbert Link