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I have been a Christian for many years but suffer with depression. How can I overcome my unhappiness?
Thank you for taking the time to visit our website and ask a question. I am so sorry to hear that you have had long problems in life and that you suffer with depression. Many Christians also go through similar issues in life. I personally have very low times in my life.
With any medical issues, including mental health, we always want to advise you to seek professional medical advice.
The good news is that God does want us and wants us to know his love, peace, joy and freedom. Consider these verses:
For the Father himself loves you (John 16:27).
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).
The hope that we can have is that this life is not the end. If we trust in Christ and follow him, he promises us an eternal life. A new life now and also a greater life to come. This should be the hope of every Christian. It is too easy to think that the goal of Christianity is our happiness here in this life.
There are, of course, some Christians who seem wonderfully loved, happy and contented but there are many more who live in poverty or loneliness, endure illnesses, undergo adversity, or see their loved ones die of disease or even through brutal persecution. The message of some preachers is that by faith we can be spared all these things, but that is not the message of the New Testament. Rather, we are told:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober- minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 5:5).
The truth is that there are different kinds of happiness. The one we most easily overlook is becoming happy spiritually, with who God is and what He is doing in our lives for our eternal well-being and His glory here on earth. That doesn't 'wipe out' earthly sorrows that are very real, such as losing a loved one and grieving for them, or living a life in pain or disability. However, it does compensate for those things, rather like blind people develop powerful memories because they can't write things down, so that their blindness doesn't affect them as badly as it could do. We don't know why God allows 'bad' things in our lives but we do know that in His hands, they are servants of His good purpose for us both here in this life and in eternity.
I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com
In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:
Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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