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God can grant an amazing peace of mind to a person. Many Christians have been totally calm and prayed for their persecutors while being tortured and killed -- like Stephen, the first martyr.

But do all Christians (I mean those who are saved) have the same kind of peace, or any kind of peace at all? I'd thought a Christian can be completely desperate and hopeless, even to the point of committing suicide. I came across an answer with another point of view, which made me question first the answer, then my own views.

What does the Bible say about this, and what do churches teach?
Can a Christian be desperate and hopeless?
What about clinically depressed?

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Has anyone thought about Job? Anyway...Paul wrote to Corinthians;

2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (NKJV)
8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.

Certainly Paul was expressing a sense of depression when he wrote that he was "burdened beyond measure" and "above strength". So it would seem that, yes, Christians can be depressed.

We won't know why many of us are burdened to the limits of our endurance until God chooses to enlighten us. There is one scripture, however, that has helped me during dark times. Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:22; ..."But he who endures to the end will be saved."

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Yes, Christians can be clinically depressed.

Those who are mentally ill can be saved, I know of someone who is a severe schizophrenic, and has delusions that are contradictory to the Bible (such as he believes he is or soon will be king of the world), but at the same time, he believes in God as his personal Lord and Savior... God knows and understands, He looks at the heart...

Can a Christian be desperate and hopeless?

Yes. Following Christ is a spiritual journey, so we have ups and downs, times of "drought" and times of "blessing", where things are going well and not so well... In our spiritual lives, we grow and learn, that's the very nature of a spiritual journey...

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Yes; many many years ago, as a believer, I myself came to the brink of suicide... and God miraculously intervened to preserve my life. –  Lawrence Dol Oct 5 '11 at 2:57
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Thanks for the answer! Can you back this up with the Bible? While I tend to agree, I'm specifically wondering about the basis of my own view on this. –  dancek Oct 5 '11 at 6:57
    
@dancek at the moment, I can't think of a passage that specifically applies... –  studiohack Oct 5 '11 at 15:03
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Clinical depression is an illness (related to imbalances of chemicals like domine in the brain). A Christian can get Cancer (an illness) so it follows that a Cristain can have clinical depression.

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Welcome to Christianity.SE! Can you answer the other parts of the question, too? I.e. what does the Bible say, and can a Christian be desperate and hopeless. –  dancek Oct 5 '11 at 11:50
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There are some churches that teach that depression and other mental illness are not possible for a Christian - they are sinful or demonic.

Most churches accept that mental illness is a part of life in a fallen world, something which Christains are not immune from. The likes of Job and Elijah are examples of Biblical characters who may have suffered from depression.

Can Christians be Hopeless? Yes, like anyone else. There are examples of Christians who have shown great fortitude in the face of difficulties, although, TBH, they are often when facing death, which may hold less fear for Christians than some others. The truth is that in the face of death fortitude is sometimes easier than in the face of life.

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As someone who suffers from bipolar and had a recent incident of major depression within the last twelve months (related to the bipolar), I will have to say, yes, yes we can. This most recent bout of depression what characteristic of the disease: severe lows triggered by nothing. The question isn't whether a person with mental illness can be saved, the question is what can they do with what they have.

It also helps to remember that many (if not most) emotions are products of the sinful flesh and can often be corrupted by the devil. Never put it past him to polish something a little to make it look more enticing. After all, if he can cause physical disease, there is no reason he can't manipulate the chemical reactions in your grey-matter which is, after all, an organ.

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I want to thank you for being open about this. When a family member finally discovered they had depression a few years ago, I was shocked to find so many fellow Christians who told me about their experiences with depression. It's exceedingly likely that many of the heroes of the faith would have been diagnosed with these sorts of conditions if they had been subjected to modern medicine (with all it's positive and negative features). I also learned that while medication helps many, it doesn't help all. –  Jon Ericson May 10 '12 at 0:07
    
@JonEricson I'm only starting to be open about it relatively recently. There is a stigma associated with bipolar and I am (was?) a little paranoid about it. –  cwallenpoole May 10 '12 at 15:14
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@JonEricson The biggest thing which we (as Christians) must remember is that we are not defined by our emotions. If we were, then we would all need to dispair if we are not in a perpetual Jesus high. No, defining your relationship with God or even your personality as something which is controlled by a rather temperamental (get it?) organ dangerously borders on sentimentalist materialism. The matter in heaven is a very different substance from the matter on earth and attachment to this life (and its emotions) will only distract us and draw us further from the divine union. –  cwallenpoole May 10 '12 at 15:18
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