3 Christian Books on Depression
- Vivian Bricker Contributing Writer
- 2022 10 Feb
Depression is something that many of us struggle with for either a duration of time or chronically. It is an overwhelming feeling of sadness, sorrow, and pain. Sometimes, we feel like darkness is swallowing us alive and all we can do is sit and let the tears stream down our faces. Depression can impact our daily lives and leave us in a state of isolation. The Lord wants you to feel the warmth of the sun on your face again and feel His unconditional love. Through my journey of depression, I have handpicked 3 Christian books to help you know you are not alone:
1. A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
The first Christian book on depression that I recommend is A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis, which was first published in 1961. Even though this book was written many years before my birth, I bought this book in 2017 a few months following the death of my mother in 2016. My sisters and I had always been a fan of Lewis’ Narnia series; however, we had never read his more personal books. I cannot fully express how much this book helped me in my time of need. I was experiencing the challenge of coping with the death of my mother and Lewis was writing about his process of dealing with the death of his beloved wife, Joy.
When Lewis first published the book in 1961, he published it under a pseudonym, N.W. Clerk. Lewis did not want anyone to associate him with the book and surprisingly most people did not pair Lewis’ other writings with A Grief Observed. In fact, during Lewis’ mourning for his deceased wife, many of his friends suggested that he read the infamous Christian book on depression by N.W. Clerk to help deal with his grief and depression. A Grief Observed was a way for Lewis to write out, express, and deal with the grief, sadness, and depression he was experiencing due to the loss of his wife. If you are going through depression due to losing a loved one, I highly recommend this Christian book on depression. Lewis’ words will help you feel not so alone.
Often, when we are in the midst of depression, we start to believe we are alone and that no one else feels as lonely, pained, and grieved as we do, but this is not true and Lewis’ book helps us to recall this vital information. Due to living in a fallen world, death will come for our loved ones just as one day we too will pass away to be with the Lord. When our loved ones pass away, a huge void starts to form in our souls that we cannot simply shake away. Only by going to the Lord can we find peace (John 14:27). The Lord does not promise to remove the grief, pain, and depression we feel, but He does promise to walk with us through every valley (Psalm 23). A Grief Observed is a moving book that helps us understand the despair Lewis felt while allowing us to observe our own grief, pain, and depression in our lives.
2. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst
A second Christian book on depression that I recommend is It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst, which is a wonderful, well-written novel dealing with TerKurst’s own pain, hurt, and disappointments. I first came to know this Christian book on depression in early 2019 after my friend from college found out I was struggling with depression since the passing of my mother, so she lent her copy to me. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way was a gift my friend received after the unexpected passing of her fiancé. In other words, this single copy of It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way has helped my friend, my whole family, and thousands of other Christians across the globe.
Throughout TerKeurst’s Christian book on depression, she reflects on her own disappointments and difficulties. She highlights the truth that even though we go through these tough times, God is still there. Yes, He could take us out of a hard time in an instant, but He is using the difficulty, painful experience, and struggle to stretch us and strengthen us. God works all things out according to His divine purposes even if we don’t fully understand it (Romans 8:28). TerKeurst details in this book her separation from her husband after his love affair with another woman and her diagnosis of cancer. These were two huge difficulties in TerKeurst’s life and she shared them in her Christian book on depression to help others going through similar struggles. Many people can relate to their experience with depression after receiving a diagnosis of a deadly disease or after they separate from their spouse.
TerKeurst’s cancer is now in remission; however, even though she and her husband reconciled by the end of the book, as of January 2022, TerKeurst and her husband have filed for divorce (Leah MarieAnn Klett, “Lysa TerKeurst Announces Divorce After Battling To Save Marriage, Standing ‘Firm” In Faith Despite Pain,” Christian Post, 2022). Unfortunately, not everything works out exactly as we hope for or dream; however, God will take the bad things of our lives and turn them into something good. TerKeurst emphasizes in this Christian book on depression the theme of “It’s not supposed to be this way” because the sinful world that we live in was not what God originally intended for mankind. He originally created the world perfect, without pain, death, and sorrow. But, once mankind sinned, sin entered the world and along with it, pain, death, and sorrow. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with depression as it helps you work through your own depression and helps you see God’s bigger plan for your life in the process.
3. Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado
The third Christian book on depression I recommend is Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado. This was the most recent book I read out of these three titles, delving into this story in the beginning of 2020. I had heard many positive reviews about this Christian book on depression, so I knew I had to give it a try. For many years, I have struggled with anxiety and depression. Maybe you can relate to these feelings too. If you do struggle with either of these ailments, I highly recommend Anxious for Nothing.
As soon as I read the first few chapters of this Christian book on depression, I was able to breathe more easily and reflect better on my circumstances without anxiety and depression suffocating me. Lucado utilizes personal stories, Bible passages, and Christian advice to help those struggling with anxiety and depression. This Christian book on depression is unique in the sense that it focuses on the passage of Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Lucado emphasizes the importance of giving all of our anxieties, sorrows, and pains over to the Lord.
God does not want us to dwell in our painful pasts. Rather, He wants us to move forward in the life that He has planned for us. God tells us, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19). If we consistently dwell, fret, and live in our past, we will not be able to live the abundant life Jesus died for us to receive. Lucado writes in a kind, gentle, and warm tone in this Christian book on depression to remind us to truly be anxious for nothing and to give all of our sorrows over to the Lord Jesus.
If you or someone you know is going through depression, it is okay. You are not expected to become your happy, normal, bubbly self after you have gone through a traumatic experience. It is okay to not be okay. Trying to force a fake smile or be okay when you are not is not needed. You are allowed to feel your sadness, sorrow, and pain. There is nothing wrong with having a good cry. God designed us in the way that after we cry, we can feel better. This is not to say crying is the answer to all of our problems, but it does help.
Depression is part of a mental illness and needs to be treated as such. It deserves proper care, therapy, and counseling. For some people, medications are needed and that is okay too. I have had to be placed on depression medicines in the past too and there is nothing to be ashamed of. If you are experiencing depression today, it is time to reach out to a family member, friend, or a health professional. Counselors and therapists are trained to help people going through depression. There is nothing wrong with having to see a therapist. God has placed doctors and therapists in our lives to help us recover and emerge brighter on the other side.
If you feel you need help, contact your doctor or a Christian therapist to help you start talking through your depression. Most importantly, pray to God, pour out your heart to Him, and let Him lift you up into the warm sunlight again. Even though depression can be long-term, God promises to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). No matter why you are going through depression, know that God is always with you and you are never alone.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Sincerely Media
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.