Job: the longest and most detailed portrait of depression in the Bible. Suicidal depression. My husband Greg said: “If you’re asking who in the Bible is most likely to jump off a cliff, it’s gotta be Job.” He’s so right. Over and over Job says he wishes he’d never been born, and begs that God would just take his life. And if we want to get to the root of suicide, we need to look at cases of mental illness in the Bible.
Job’s depression is triggered by tragedy, circumstances beyond his control. Here he is, living his best life, and he loses his kids and his wealth all in one day. Brokenhearted, he comes straight to God in worship. Next he loses his health. He mourns, he grieves, and his wife tells him to just curse God and die. Job spirals down deeper into depression, but still keeps his faith. Worse yet, Job’s three friends were not there to comfort him, they were there to argue theology. Harsh, judgmental, and simplistic, they do everything wrong. “Hey Job, you wanna jump off a cliff, there’s one right over here, we’ll show you the way!” Talk about bringing gasoline to a fire.
May is mental health awareness month, and in my ever super appropriate devotions I am studying Job; didn’t plan it that way, but it’s what is on the schedule. Join me in these brief studies to find hope and help in the Bible, to be inspired to have faith, trust God, and live on just like Job.