What Bible verses can we read that can help us when we have suicidal thoughts or are overcome with extreme sadness? What ones would you include?
A Dark Night of the Soul
Almost every believer that I have spoken with has passed through a dark night of the soul at one time or another. They go through bouts of deep sadness or depression. Some are able to pass through these times rather quickly but others have a more difficult time coming out of them. For one thing, it is normal to have times of sadness in this fallen world. These times of sadness only become a serious problem when they begin to linger for days, weeks, and months. When this happens, it’s time to reach out to someone for help. Even more serious are when this sadness leads to thoughts of suicide. When a Christian reaches this point, they can’t put off seeking help and should do so immediately. There are wicked spirits that often put these thoughts in our minds. When we fail to read the Bible on a regular basis and our prayer life drops off precipitously, we can fall prey to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and being of no use for God or anyone else. It is sometimes a simple brain chemical imbalance which can be treated. At other times it is counseling that can help lift us out of these deep valleys. The point is, we all get depressed, have times of sadness and may even contemplate suicide but when these feelings stay with us for a long period, they can lead to apathy, irritability, and even suicide. It’s time to get help, even if it’s in the Word of God, so here are some Bible verses that can help us when we have times of extreme sadness or have suicidal thoughts.
Psalm 34:18-19 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
The fact is when we are going through times of sadness and depression and when we feel completely crushed is just when God nearest to us. The times that we think God is silent is often when He is actually closest. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous” so it’s reassuring to know that many of God’s own children go through these times but the good news is that “the Lord delivers [them] out of them all.” One thing that’s important to realize is that human feelings are the shallowest and most undependable of all human emotions but the Word of God is certain and does not depend on circumstances. He is near the brokenhearted, He saves those crushed in spirit, and even if we have many afflictions, God will deliver us out of every one of them in due time.
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Imagine you were carrying around a ball and chain. This weight encumbered you wherever you went. It became a terrible burden that slowed you down, made everything harder, and limited what you could do. If you could rid yourself of this weight, wouldn’t you? Here the Psalmist says that we should “cast [our] burden on the Lord” and not carry it around by ourselves. If you do, “he will sustain you” because He has promised that “he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” We were meant for a relationship with God but when we go it alone, we have to carry everything ourselves. Why not cast this heavy weight onto the broad shoulders of God. He can carry any weight that we cannot for He is God.
First Peter 5:7 “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
This verse is similar to Psalm 55:22 but the difference is that we cast our “anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Why can we give our anxieties over to Him? Peter answers that it is because “he cares for” us. The old saying is true: “A joy shared is doubled but a sorrow shared is halved.” No one needs to carry what they were never intended to carry alone so we must fall on our knees and offer it up to the Lord. He wants us to give these over to Him “because he cares for” us and knows that we can’t carry all these anxieties in our own strength.
Isaiah 53:4 “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
Here is evidence that God has carried our griefs and our sorrows. These griefs and sorrows surely include our anxieties, our fears, and our burdens. If you need a proof text to see that He has already carried many of our griefs and sorrows, here it is. This verse actually refers to our redemption through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice but part of this refers to our relationship with Him where He takes on what we cannot take on by ourselves. Why not trust Him to help us?
Psalm 34:17 “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”
Since God is omniscient, nothing escapes His attention and so we can rely on the fact that God hears our cry for help but the point is that we must cry out for help. God helps those who cannot help themselves and when we cry out for help we can be certain that “the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” When our troubles are too much to bear, cry out to Him. He is ready, willing, and able to deliver us out of these, including those times of great sorrow, sadness, depression, and even when suicide crosses our mind. The real question is, “Will we believe God?” We have every reason to.
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Here is one of my favorite memory verses. Every one of us has times of weakness. We need to be encouraged and strengthened. Some of our troubles are so big that we are afraid and dismayed but “the Lord [our] God is with [us] wherever [we] go” so take that verse, mediate on it, memorize it, and hide it in your heart. Besides, He has commanded us to be strong and courageous and not to be frightened or dismayed since God goes with us wherever we go.”
Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Taken from Psalm 23 we know that God goes with us through the valleys of life where there is darkness and even shadows of death…even self-inflicted times of thoughts of death. The fact is that these are just shadows and not death itself. God doesn’t keep up from these valleys nor does He promise to take us around them but He does say that He “goes with us through the valleys” so we are not alone. If we remember this, we can “fear no evil” because you can say “you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.” Everyone has to pass through these valleys but not everyone realizes that He passes through them with us.
There are many afflictions that the righteous will endure but know this; He is near the crushed and broken hearted, we can cast our burdens on Him and He will sustain us, we can cast our anxieties on Him because He cares for us, even if we don’t see Him He carries our griefs and sorrows if we permit Him to, He wants us to cry out to Him for help because He promises us that He will deliver us out of our troubles, we can be strong and courageous and have no need to fear or be dismayed because He is with us, and even if the long, dark nights in the valley should cast a shadow of death, He goes through them with us. The best way to fight thoughts of sadness and even suicide is to regularly stay in the Word of God. His promises will help us endure these times. If you stay in prolonged periods of sadness or contemplate suicide, please seek help immediately. There is no need to go it alone. God wants us to cry out to Him and seek out godly counsel from others, even if it means seeking medical help.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon