Below is an excerpt from the preface of my new book, Everything is Meaningless: Finding Purpose in a World of Despair. You can pre-order here (coming October 2021).
“There is a reason Ecclesiastes is in the Bible. Even Christians—sometimes the most committed or well known—battle with depression. Some great saints of Scripture and history have this trait in common. Think of Elijah in 1 Kings 19. After
experiencing the emotional high of a mountaintop revival, the prophet comes down exhausted, depressed, and wishing for his life to end. Think of David writing some of the psalms, questioning why he is so disturbed and wondering why he feels so depressed. Think of Jeremiah writing another neglected book—Lamentations—which is a lament for Jerusalem’s ruin because of the people’s sin.
Some of the greatest artists, musicians, poets, prophets, pastors, and other creatives did their most remarkable work in times of sorrow and sadness. For example, Charles Spurgeon, the great British preacher of the nineteenth century, battled with depression his entire life. But his sermons and writings contain a depth of substance and compassion that otherwise may not have been had he not struggled with depression.
Mother Teresa is well known for confessing her “dark night of the soul” experience, which shadowed most of her adult years. The expression, “dark night of the soul” was coined by another distressed saint in 1577, John of the Cross.
Artists such as Michelangelo and Vincent Van Gogh accomplished some of their greatest works while struggling with dark depression.
Many famous people who seem to have it all or have it all together struggle intensely with depression and a sense of the meaninglessness of life. Tragically, some have ended their lives.
It can still be hard for some of us to open up about being depressed. But the Bible takes these feelings head-on versus giving nice-sounding but shallow platitudes. It does not avoid, deny, or suppress our deepest thoughts, feelings, or despair.” -pg.xi, Everything is Meaningless.