Good Bible Verses For Depression: A Look At Psalms 42 and 43 // Episode 128

How does a Christian mom find God when feeling discouraged? Let’s look at two good Bible verses for depression that give wisdom and help.

Christian mom fighting depression sitting on the floor beside baby's crib

Need some good Bible verses for depression?

Maybe I’m crazy for closing out our summertime series with a look at depression… But it’s a part of the psalms, it’s a part of many moms’ lives, and it has a huge impact on Christian family life. 

So let’s go there. 

After all, God’s Word goes there!

There are many good Bible verses for depression. But as a counselor (and a woman who has struggled with her own painful emotions like this) I find Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 to be among the most helpful.

So, today, we are diving in here, trying to find the right perspective between the joy we have in Christ and the hard emotions that are so often part of life.

Depression is no fun, but it is a reality for many of us. And Psalms 42 and 43 give encouragement and help for our hardest emotions.

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Two Bible verses, one theme

Historically, Psalms 42 and 43 have been linked together. The original Hebrew text had them as one psalm. But even when we read them today as two psalms, we see one theme. 

Handling depression as a follower of God. 

There are many good Bible verses for depression, but these two go deep into the emotions, experiences, and helpful responses for a Christian mom struggling against depression.

But honestly, these Bible verses are not just for depression!

In fact, these two psalms never use the word “depression.” They paint a picture of depression, but they also provide a guide for dealing with many hard emotions. 

Are you struggling with loneliness? Looking for Bible verses about anger? These two psalms will help with many painful feelings.

Every Christian family struggles with hard emotions. Depression is just one of them. And whether you are actually dealing with a diagnosis or you’re dealing more with sadness, frustration, and feeling overwhelmed – either way, these are good Bible verses for depression and other painful emotions.

Digging into Psalms 42 and 43

Let’s walk through these two psalms and see how they give us wisdom for managing Christian family life and the hard emotions that might come with it.

We will walk together through several verses at a time, asking ourselves what we learn about emotions, the Christian faith, and family life from each section of the psalms.

So let us ask together: why are these good Bible verses for depression?

Verses 1-4

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

3 My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Many times, when you are struggling with hard emotions, it feels like God is absent. When your days are busy and your heart is heavy, can you see God working in your family relationships? In your home life?

This can be especially difficult if you’ve had seasons of life when you did feel very close and intimate with God. You notice when it’s missing! You might look back on the past and feel even more pain and regret today because your emotions are so different. 

It is a good and holy thing to “thirst” for more of God. Jesus describes himself as the Living Water in the gospel of John chapter 7. While it does not feel pleasant to long for, pant after, and thirst for God, it is exactly what our souls need most.

Verse 5

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

This verse is the main point of both Psalm 42 and Psalm 42. When you think about finding good Bible verses for depression, this might be the very best verse in the whole Bible!

We know that it is the main point of the psalm, the main idea for how to respond to depression in a biblical and helpful way, because of a few things:

  • this verse is repeated two more times, in Psalm 42:11 and in Psalm 43:5. 
  • a “downcast soul” is such a clear picture of depression
  • the emotion is immediately dealt with by the psalmist preaching to his own soul

There is such a clear picture of depression here. Is your soul feeling downcast? Is your heart or mind feeling disturbed? These are NOT fun emotions, but they are so normal! 

As a counselor, I help women who are truly struggling with depression. Women who are diagnosed with depression and seeing painful impact on their Christian marriage, their parenting style, their emotional wellness, and every area of Christian family life. 

But I have also seen so many women fighting these emotions – feeling downcast and disturbed – simply as a part of living in a broken world!

You do not have to be clinically depressed, on medication, or seeking professional help to feel the emotions of this psalm.  You just have to be human.

When we come back to these same words in a few verses, we’ll look at what we learn from it about how to actually deal with these really common, really painful emotions.

Verses 6-10

6 My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

7 Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

8 By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”

10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

The psalmist continues on with a clear picture of what depression feels like. And this is so helpful if you are struggling with these painful emotions!

Yes, we want solutions. When we are struggling, we want to know how to make it better. We just want it all to go away so we can feel good again. 

But along that journey, it is so encouraging to know that we are not alone.

Have you ever felt this way?

  • downcast (v. 6)
  • feeling crushed and overwhelmed by a waterfall of emotion (v. 7)
  • forgotten by God (v. 9)?
  • mourning, oppressed, in a battle (v. 9-10)
  • like your bones are suffering mortal agony (v. 10)?
  • fighting thoughts (or people!) that taunt you with the question: “where is your God?” (v. 10)

If you have felt this way, you are not alone. Not only did this psalmist, who lived thousands of years ago, feel the same way. Thousands of people today feel the same way too.

You are not alone in these hard emotions.

But let’s take a look at how to deal with them.

Verse 11

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

This same refrain, the chorus of the song of biblically handling depression, is back. 

When you try to think of good Bible verses for depression, this is the one! It is worth meditating on, studying, praying through, and memorizing.

There are three key action steps that are here in this one little verse, for how we should deal with depression as a Christian mom.

  1. Respond to your emotions with a choice. The natural respond to feeling downcast and depressed is to sit around and feel depressed. But that’s not what the psalmist does here.
  2. Choose to put your hope in God. Recognize who He is (Savior!). Lean into the personal relationship you have with him (my Savior and my God). When you are feeling depressed, this is an intentional choice. 
  3. Choose to praise God no matter what. Again, you must make a choice. You do not need to praise God or thank him for the painful emotions or the hard situation around you. But He is still God. He is still good. He is faithful, present, loving, and He will work even this hard situation out for good in the end (Romans 8:28). So choose to praise him.

Psalm 43:1-5

1 Vindicate me, my God,
and plead my cause
against an unfaithful nation.
Rescue me from those who are
deceitful and wicked.
2 You are God my stronghold.
Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?
3 Send me your light and your faithful care,
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

This short psalm continues the same ideas, emotions, and solutions. It is full of more good Bible verses for depression!

In this psalm, we see how the psalmist takes action on his choice to put his hope in God and praise him. He asks God for specific help (v. 1 and 3), acknowledges the strength of God (v. 2), and looks forward to experiencing the deeper intimacy with God that he has been missing (v. 4). 

But along the way, the painful emotions are still there. “Why have you rejected me?” is one of the most common – and painful – calls of the Christian heart. Your emotions might lead you to think God has rejected you. You might be mourning and feeling oppressed and overwhelmed.

That’s why verse 3 is so helpful. Those feelings are real and they are important. But the solution is not to just sit and cry in the emotion. And the solution is not to reject God and try to deal with everything yourself.

The solution is to receive God’s light and his faithful care and to let him lead you back to him (verse 3). Only then will you experience joy and delight again (v. 4). 

So, what do you do when you are fighting depression? How can a Christian mom respond to these emotions in a biblical way?

Acknowledge the emotions (downcast, disturbed). And choose to put your hope in God, to praise him, and to seek his face.

3 take aways for your Christian family

First, these psalms make it very clear: depression is real, powerful, and feeling “downcast” is very normal.

After all, we live in a broken world. There is much around us that can discourage and frustrate us. And our own bodies are also broken by sin, meaning that we get stuck in negative thinking and may struggle with unhealthy emotions.

Second, we see a reminder that our feelings do not change facts. You might feel like God is absent. It might feel like you’re drowning and nothing will ever change. But the true FACT is that God is always present, always good, and always carrying you through. He never changes. 

Finally, we see in these two psalms a specific path out of depression: make a choice to turn to God. Turn to him. Cry out to him. Place your hope in him and seek his face. 

We don’t praise God FOR every circumstance. But we do praise him IN every circumstance. 

Listen to Episode #128

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Disclaimers: I am a licensed therapist but my podcast, blog, and resources are not professional or personal advice. I am an affiliate for many of the resources that I link to, and may earn a small commission if you purchase through my link. Read my full disclaimer here.