When the Struggle is Just TOO Real.

When reading through the Psalms of the Bible, I find a soulmate in David, who also wrestled with depression. It is easy to grasp from his Psalms that this guy had some heart-wrenching struggles. 

However, in the beginning, things were golden.

You may only know David as the young teen who killed Goliath, the giant warrior from Gath who wanted to war with Israel. But there was so much more on his resume. Saul, the King of Israel, hired young David to be his armor-bearer and later his musical therapist. (1)  His best friend was King Saul’s son Jonathan. Barely into his 20s, he became a successful commander of the king’s army (2) and even married Michal, one of Saul’s daughters.

Life was grand.

Unfortunately, the good life didn’t last. King Saul, who had a tormenting mental illness (3) of his own (called an “evil spirit” in many translations), had a jealous rage because of David’s successes. There were times when David had to flee when the unbalanced ruler threw a spear at him. Saul’s temper became more and more volatile, and the “spear hit the wall” (4) when David didn’t attend the royal dinner table two nights in a row. Jonathan stepped in with an excuse for David and was nearly killed himself. (5)

With this final escape, David was on the run from Saul and his men for nearly a decade. (6) He moved from place to place to stay alive, along with his own ragtag army. These 400 men gave up everything to travel with David, keeping the next King of Israel safe from harm.  

It was during this exile that David wrote many of his Psalms. His heart was devastated because Saul, his king, boss, and father-in-law, no longer wanted him alive. His health undoubtedly suffered since he often couldn’t eat or sleep. 

That sends someone into a deep depression.

David wrote many “Lament Psalms,” songs of grief and mourning. One example is Psalm 13:

Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
    How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
    with sorrow in my heart every day?
    How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! 

    Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. 

Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” 

    Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall. 

But I trust in Your unfailing love.

    I will rejoice because You have rescued me.

I will sing to the Lord

    because He is good to me.


The struggle was real for David.

The same happens to us. Our lives can be steadily rolling along without any significant troubles or strife,

and then.   

Bumps in the road become apparent. Things spiral out of control because of unforeseen occurrences. Events happen that cause great sorrow. Nothing is as it was.

Or, something unexpected sends us reeling. The heavy cloud of depression returns once again. You are shaken. It is lonely. Where to go next is uncertain.

Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

Dear Reader, when you find yourself again in the abyss, it’s hard to cling to anything positive. I know. It is a struggle that I understand. Depression and anxiety seem to have the upper hand once again.

When we pray for help and do not know if God hears us, we feel deserted. As the storm rages, we don’t want to give in to depression’s darkness, even though we know (in the far reaches of our minds) that our feelings are currently deceptive and undependable.

When we come to this point, call out to God in the same way David did in Psalm 13:  

How long?

Lord – I’m hurting!

How long?

Where are you? Why don’t you answer?

How long?

Do you see my struggle? I’m shaken to the core.  

How long?

When will this enemy of darkness let go of my soul again so I can return to life?

As we feel the depression seeping in to devastate us, we can look to the Lord to rescue us. We can ask Him desperately to breathe life back into our spirit. We need His help to triumph over destructive feelings and thoughts.

Stop here. Try to catch your breath. Grab for these truths and tuck them into your heart:  

You can trust God’s faithful love.

You can believe that God will rescue you.

You can know that God will be good to you.

We are allowed to cry out to God and ask, “how long.” Even though it feels as though God isn’t there, He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5b). That is His promise.

David knew this too. Later in the Psalms, he writes:

Yet I still belong to You; You hold my right hand. (7)
I can never escape Your Spirit!
I can never get away from Your presence!

Day after day, David desperately prayed to the Lord, giving over his heavy burdens. David knew God would take care of him, and God did. David soon became the King of Israel as promised. God will take care of us too. He does not let the godly slip and fall. (9)

Reach out to God today and tell Him how you’re struggling. If you feel unsafe, ask for His protection. If you’re lonely, ask for His presence. If the darkness is never-ending, ask Him to be your refuge.


Friend, please take care of yourself.
 If it helps, journal all your thoughts – even the deep and scary ones – just as David did in the Psalms. If your feelings seem unstable, reach out for help! Ask someone to stay with you, so you aren’t alone. Make an appointment with your doctor. And if you are on meds, make sure you stay on your regimen.  

1. I Samuel 16:14-23
I Samuel 18:5
3. I Samuel 16:14
4. My twist on the saying of when something hits the fan. 
5. I Samuel 20:27-33
6. Because David would become king at 30 years old, (2 Samuel 5:4)  his period of exile was likely around eight years. 
7. Psalm 73:23
8. Psalm 139:7
9. Psalm 55:22

1 comment:

  1. Your words are really resonating with me!! And I learned more about David's story that I don't think I knew. I can certainly understand why he would be depressed.


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