Depression in the Bible

Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!

Isn’t that the truth? When you consider life and what we toil for? It all seems in vain. Are all of our actions meaningless? We work for money to buy things — clothes, food, houses, cars, boats, stocks and bonds … for what? Eventually we die and whatever is left behind goes to someone else — the government, a family member, a friend or to animals.

We work — someone else inherits. And on and on it goes. The Bible not only speaks of the meaningless of life but also of people who struggled with depression. A son of King David had everything — houses, land, children, women, food … and yet his mind was finding everything in life futile.

I saw that wisdom is better than folly,
just as light is better than darkness.
The wise have eyes in their heads,
while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize
that the same fate overtakes them both.

Then I said to myself,

“The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
What then do I gain by being wise?”
I said to myself, “This too is meaningless.”
For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;
the days have already come when both have been forgotten.
Like the fool, the wise too must die!

So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me.  Ecclesiastes 2:12-19

Ouch! This guy must be really down. Or, perhaps he was aging and was starting to figure our what matters in life. A reading of the whole book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that the people in the Bible were just like us — all struggling in their existence.

The author eventually makes the point that we mustn’t keep our eyes on the things of this earth. Everything here appears meaningless. Our focus must be on the things beyond this earth. A better land — one with no selfishness, no complaining, no suffering, no aches and pains, no DEATH (I like that one).

Otherwise — all we have is non-existence.

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