Overcoming Depression, Sadness, and Despair

Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.'”

-Nehemiah 8:10


According to research, not everybody who attempts or commits suicide has or had a mental illness, so if someone was to look up “suicide caused by despair,” there are many theories and studies that come up showing that despair can lead to or is the cause of many suicides.


In the dictionary, despair means hopelessness. As humans, we all have a chance or may have experienced this. Despair brings us down. It makes us question life, or really sad. It can make us depressed. But the Bible says God’s joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

How to Feel Joy

The answer to overcoming depression, despair, and general sadness is to receive joy from God to strengthen us. How do we do that? We rejoice! To rejoice is “to feel or show great joy and delight” (dictionary). The problem is, if our strength is joy from the Lord, how do we get it, or have this joy when we’re down? We pray, for one thing. But notice the second part of the definition: “to feel or show… delight” (dictionary).

My Conclusion

Our joy comes from the Lord, and this joy strengthens us, even if something bad has happened. To conquer despair, depression, and sadness, we need to receive this joy. We could start by praying and asking for this joy, asking for help in receiving it and knowledge about what’s keeping us from getting it, but we could also simply delight in the Lord. When we delight in God, not only does he give us our heart’s desires (Psalm 37:4), but we can feel joy resting in who he is and what he’s done, resting in his love for us. Sometimes it helps to think about his word. Sometimes it helps to think about what he’s done for us in dying for our salvation, or to praise his goodness and feel his comforting presence.