Monday, July 4, 2011

Is Ecclesiastes proof that depression existed "back in the Bible times"?

There is certainly a depressing tone to the book of Ecclesiastes, isn't there? In my searching for answers I have wondered at times, "Did anyone have depression in the Bible?" I mean, really, who in the Bible can I even relate to when I struggle with depression? "Depression" was not a term used then so I guess I have to read between the lines. Solomon had no reason to be depressed. He had everything a person could want. I've actually felt like that at times, "Why am I so down? I have everything I have ever asked for." House, Husband, 2 car garage, van, 2.5 kids, etc. etc. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, there is a longing deep down inside of each of us-- A nagging longing...One that cannot be satisfied with anything here in this world. It's this yearning for something more that keeps us pointed in the right direction at times. I just have to know that there is a HEAVEN somewhere someday that makes all of this life of mine here on earth make sense. I live with the hope that I will not be let down. God created each of us to be aware of that sense of an unquenchable thirst for something more. I am convinced that we each have a heightened sense of this need at different points in our life, depending on what season of life we are riding through. Some of us are just more prone to see the glass 15/18ths empty and have to fight the urge more to spew out profanity while kicking our neighbor's trash can. :) Just saying. I think Solomon hit one of his "ultra-sensitive to the need for something more" points when he wrote Ecclesiastes. Read the first chapter and see what you think...

Ecclesiastes 1:12-18
I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;
what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.

So, I read that and think, "YES! There was, in fact, depression, even before preservatives and food dyes were added to my breads and fruit snacks, and before hormones were added to my milk!" :)

Okay, so how does Ecclesiastes end? Certainly the God of hope would not put a depressing book in the Bible just to get us all discouraged. My personal take is that God wanted a book in the Bible that admits the things He knows some of us will struggle with, so we can know what to do with it. Here's how Solomon wraps up Ecclesiastes...

"Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

HEAVEN BOUND! Do it all as if you are doing it for the Lord. Keep plugging away. Don't stay stuck in the "EVERYTHING is utterly and convincingly meaningless" rut. For every lie that hits your sweet little head, there is a truth from God to counteract that lie. The thought that everything is meaningless is true, if you have a life apart from God. WITH GOD; however, there is no truth in that. There is purpose in everything you do. You are put here on earth for such a time as this! Keep on keeping on. This is only a message of comfort if you are truly persevering and feeling pulled down fast. Seek God for comfort, for your purpose, for the truth that counteracts the lies Satan has thrown your way. There is hope. This is not all that there is. Your reward may be here, or it may be in Heaven, but rest assured the things you do for the Lord are never done in vain!!! Amen?

If this topic is hitting a little too close to home, you might be interested in checking out one of my other posts on what I do to combat depression. To do that you can go here.

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