David's Life in the Minor Key: Is Depression Sin?

If you've ever felt trapped, imprisoned, or helplessly caught by life, then you share the emotions of David in the midst of life in the Cave of Adullam.

Things had gotten so bad that David makes a confession that is packed with meaning to us today. In the form of an urgent prayer offered to God, and captured for us on paper, David explains that his soul is in prison. The setting is so graphic, look at it with me in I Samuel 22.

David is in the midst of his life on the run, under immense stress in verses 1-4:

 1" David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him. 3 Then David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, "Please let my father and mother come here with you, till I know what God will do for me." 4 So he brought them before the king of Moab, and they dwelt with him all the time that David was in the stronghold."

David describes this time as when he felt trapped, with nowhere to escape in Psalm 142. Here in this Psalm written from a cave, David reflects on the circumstances all around him that made him have:

Imprisoned Emotions

Look down and find the seventh verse. Listen to the insight David gives us about what is going on inside of him at this hard time in his life. This description is so powerful.

"Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name; the righteous shall surround me, for You shall deal bountifully with me." —Psalm 142:7

A more understandable expression of "soul in prison" would be depression. David wanted to get out of depressions prison because it kept him for praising the Lord.

When we get depressed, life really does feel like an endless pursuit of nothingness. Such daily struggles are a far cry from the expectations of those who heard this type promise before they became a Christian: "Just get saved and everything will be great from then on!" But that's not always true, is it?

Even saved people can go through emotionally imprisoning cave times like David experienced. Trigger that can start a slide downward emotionally are: family conflicts; losing a job; losing a home; moving to a new location under duress; working with a tough crowd; being betrayed by friends; being wronged in a business deal; suffering the sudden loss of a family member, friend, or finances, and so forth.

Suffering from depression is a very common malady. In fact, although most of the Bible is in the major key (saints fearlessly witnessing as churches valiantly serve against all odds), side-by-side with all those wonderful testimonies is the minor key where God's Word contains true glimpses into the weaknesses and frailties of some of His greatest saints.

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