Often, we think we are alone in our suffering. The reality is the opposite. Christ shares in our suffering, and many in Scripture suffered anxiety and depression. They persevered, even when they had given hope. Their faith carried when their strength could not. I find these stories comforting and selected them to offer you hope.
Martha (Luke 10:40-42)
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
Jesus (John 11:32-35)
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept.
Mary and Joseph (Luke 2:46-48)
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
Jesus (Matthew 26:36-46)
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!” Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.”
Peter (Matthew 26:70-75)
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!” As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man!” A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.” At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly.
Servant of the Prophet Elisha (2 Kings 6:11-17)
Greatly disturbed over this, the king of Aram called together his officers. “Will you not tell me,” he asked them, “who among us is for the king of Israel?” “No one, my lord king,” answered one of the officers. “The Israelite prophet Elisha can tell the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.” “Go, find out where he is,” he said, “so that I may take him captive.” Informed that Elisha was in Dothan, he sent there a strong force with horses and chariots. They arrived by night and surrounded the city. Early the next morning, when the attendant of the man of God arose and went out, he saw the force with its horses and chariots surrounding the city. “Alas!” he said to Elisha. “What shall we do, my lord?” “Do not be afraid,” Elisha answered. “Our side outnumbers theirs.” Then he prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes, that he may see.” And the LORD opened the eyes of the servant, so that he saw the mountainside filled with horses and fiery chariots around Elisha.
Jonah (Jonah 4)
But this was greatly displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. “I beseech you, LORD,” he prayed, “is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? This is why I fled at first to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish. And now, LORD, please take my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the LORD asked, “Have you reason to be angry?” Jonah then left the city for a place to the east of it, where he built himself a hut and waited under it in the shade, to see what would happen to the city. And when the LORD God provided a gourd plant, that grew up over Jonah’s head, giving shade that relieved him of any discomfort, Jonah was very happy over the plant. But the next morning at dawn God sent a worm which attacked the plant, so that it withered. And when the sun arose, God sent a burning east wind; and the sun beat upon Jonah’s head till he became faint. Then he asked for death, saying, “I would be better off dead than alive.” But God said to Jonah, “Have you reason to be angry over the plant?” “I have reason to be angry,” Jonah answered, “angry enough to die.” Then the LORD said, “You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left, not to mention the many cattle?”
Job (Job 3:2-11)
Job spoke out and said: Perish the day on which I was born, the night when they said, “The child is a boy!” May that day be darkness: let not God above call for it, nor light shine upon it! May darkness and gloom claim it, clouds settle upon it, the blackness of night affright it! May obscurity seize that day; let it not occur among the days of the year, nor enter into the count of the months! May that night be barren; let no joyful outcry greet it! Let them curse it who curse the sea, the appointed disturbers of Leviathan! May the stars of its twilight be darkened; may it look for daylight, but have none, nor gaze on the eyes of the dawn, Because it kept not shut the doors of the womb to shield my eyes from trouble! Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?
Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:15-18)
Cursed be the day on which I was born! May the day my mother gave me birth never be blessed! Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, saying, “A child, a son, has been born to you!” filling him with great joy. Let that man be like the cities which the LORD relentlessly overthrew; Let him hear war cries in the morning, battle alarms at noonday, because he did not dispatch me in the womb! Then my mother would have been my grave, her womb confining me forever. Why did I come forth from the womb, to see sorrow and pain, to end my days in shame?”
Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:1-3)
In the month Nisan of the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when the wine was in my charge, I took some and offered it to the king. As I had never before been sad in his presence, the king asked me, “Why do you look sad? If you are not sick, you must be sad at heart.” Though I was seized with great fear, I answered the king: “May the king live forever! How could I not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been eaten out by fire?”
King David (2 Samuel 19:1)
The king (David) was shaken, and went up to the room over the city gate to weep. He said as he wept, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!”
Elijah (1 Kings 19:3-4)
Elijah was afraid and fled for his life, going to Beer-sheba of Judah. He left his servant there and went a day’s journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death: “This is enough, O LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”He got up, ate and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.
Mordecai and Esther
(Esther 4:1-4) When Mordecai learned all that was happening, he tore his garments, put on sackcloth and ashes, and walked through the city crying out loudly and bitterly, till he came before the royal gate, which no one clothed in sackcloth might enter. (Likewise in each of the provinces, wherever the king’s legal enactment reached, the Jews went into deep mourning, with fasting, weeping, and lament; they all slept on sackcloth and ashes.) Queen Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her. Overwhelmed with anguish, she sent garments for Mordecai to put on, so that he might take off his sackcloth; but he refused.
(Esther C:12-14) Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, likewise had recourse to the Lord. Taking off her splendid garments, she put on garments of distress and mourning. In place of her precious ointments she covered her head with dirt and ashes. She afflicted her body severely; all her festive adornments were put aside, and her hair was wholly disheveled. Then she prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, saying: “My Lord, our King, you alone are God. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you.”
Naomi and Ruth (Ruth 1:8-17)
Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s house! May the LORD be kind to you as you were to the departed and to me! May the LORD grant each of you a husband and a home in which you will find rest.” She kissed them good-bye, but they wept with loud sobs, and told her they would return with her to her people. “Go back, my daughters!” said Naomi. “Why should you come with me? Have I other sons in my womb who may become your husbands? Go back, my daughters! Go, for I am too old to marry again. And even if I could offer any hopes, or if tonight I had a husband or had borne sons, would you then wait and deprive yourselves of husbands until those sons grew up? No, my daughters! my lot is too bitter for you, because the LORD has extended his hand against me.” Again they sobbed aloud and wept; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth stayed with her. “See now!” she said, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her god. Go back after your sister-in-law!” But Ruth said, “Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! for wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Wherever you die I will die, and there be buried. May the LORD do so and so to me, and more besides, if aught but death separates me from you!”
<New American Bible, http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/_INDEX.HTM>