During the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was set before him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had never been sad in his presence, so the king said to me, “Why are you sad, when you aren’t sick? This is nothing but depression.” I was overwhelmed with fear and replied to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should I not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Nehemiah 2:1-3 HCSB
Healthline reports that depression is a condition that affects 1 of 10 Americans. Eighty percent of people with symptoms of clinical depression are not receiving any treatment for their condition. The number of people diagnosed with depression increases by 20 % each year. Depression is most prevalent in people who are ages 45-64. Overall, women have higher rates of depression than men. An estimated 121 million people around the world suffer from some form of depression.
Nehemiah was in a state of depression because the city of his ancestors lay in ruins. Three months had passed since Nehemiah had heard about the condition of the city of Jerusalem. When the king noticed that Nehemiah was sad and depressed, it caused Nehemiah to be fearful because it was dangerous to show sorrow before the king, who could execute anyone at any time without a reason. Nehemiah was fearful, but it did not deter him from doing what God had called him to do. When we allow fear to rule our behavior, we are saying that our fear is greater than God. In truth, God is greater than all of our fears.
Challenge: Is there a task God wants you to do but fear is holding you back? Do not allow fear to control you. Trust God to help you when you begin to experience fear. Realize that if God has called you to a task, He will provide the resources you need to accomplish it. Pray for strength to recognize and defeat any fears or depression you may have.