I recently had the opportunity to talk with Wes Harris on an episode of “Your Hope-Filled Perspective with Dr. Michelle Bengtson” (Hope and Help for Depression and OCD – Episode 28). Wes has experienced suffering with both depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He knows what it is like to struggle with intrusive thoughts, and to fight the compulsion to do things repeatedly in an attempt to control the anxiety that wells within him. I’ve asked Wes to share a bit more here about what has encouraged him in his battle against depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.
4 Bible Verses to Encourage You or Someone You Know with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
By Wes Harris
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is hard. For any Christian, there can be a disconnect between what we know is true and what our minds tell us is true. But for people with OCD, it can be even worse.
Imagine your spouse is catching a flight for a work trip. You go to work that day and tell yourself to pray for a safe flight exactly when the flight is scheduled to take off. But then you get busy at work and forget. When work slows down and you remember, it’s already been 30 minutes since the flight took off. You immediately pray for your spouse’s flight, but you worry that something will go wrong just because you didn’t pray before the flight took off. You know it’s in God’s hands and that He knew your request before you even spoke it. You know it’s an irrational fear. But anxious thoughts keep pounding in the back of your head. What if the plane crashes because I didn’t pray in time? What if God doesn’t honor my prayer? What if my spouse’s death is all my fault?
This is just one example of how OCD can manifest itself. In many cases, it can actually be worse. For the person with OCD, remembering scripture can help. It may be helpful to realize, though, that it might take some time for God’s word to really take root in someone with OCD. It may take the person a few days or even weeks of reading, quoting, and praying through scripture before God’s truth sinks in and alleviates the person’s anxiety. With that said, here are a few verses that may comfort you or someone you know with OCD.
4 Bible Verses to comfort someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
1) Matthew 7:11
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
This is good news. In the midst of OCD, it can be hard to believe that God answers prayer or that He loves you. But Jesus tells us that He is so eager to bless His children. Our prayers may not always be answered when we would like them to. But rest assured: God hears you, and, in my experience, He usually constructs a much better answer to my prayers than I could’ve ever imagined.
2) Matthew 6:34
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
People with OCD often obsessively worry about the future. For these people, it’s hard to accept that there are many things beyond their control. In this verse, Jesus acknowledges that there are indeed many things out of our control. But He encourages us to take a deep breath, relax, and simply trust Him. My OCD counselor used to tell me, “You can only praise God in the present.” So, live in the present, focus on being obedient to God right now, and trust God with the rest.
3) Mark 9:24
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
It’s hard to trust God when your mind wants to obsessively worry. But this is what I love about Jesus. In this passage, the father of the boy with an “impure spirit” says to Jesus, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us” (verse 22). In the next verse, Jesus responds, “‘If you can?…Everything is possible for one who believes.” And immediately after the father asks Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief, Jesus grants his request to heal the boy. Jesus doesn’t say, “No, your faith has to be perfect before I’ll help you.” Indeed, I think Jesus sees the tremendous faith it takes for the man to declare that he trusts Jesus will give him the faith he lacks. Jesus is pleased by our desire to trust Him, even if the faith isn’t currently there. He does not rebuke us for that lack of faith. Instead, He gives us that faith.
4) John 6:37
“whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”
This is one of my top three favorite verses. Because of intrusive blasphemous thoughts I had, I thought I was going to hell and that there was nothing I could do to stop it (and this was several years after I became a Christian). But this verse kept popping up in my head. OCD sufferers can feel dirty and guilty because of intrusive thoughts they have (these are often violent, sexual, or blasphemous thoughts). Because of this, they will only see God as the wrathful, lightning-bolt God coming to take vengeance on them. Jesus, however, tells us a different story. Whoever (as in literally anyone) comes to Him He will never (as in literally never) drive away.
About Wes Harris
As a son of a military man, Wes was born in California, lived in Europe as a small child, and attended grade school in Texas.
He is a fitness trainer, author of six books under the pen name W.R. Harris, and owner of an online ministry called Persevering Hope.
He writes about living with OCD and depression as a Christian, and he also writes devotional books.
Connect with W.R. (Wes) Harris:
Helpful Resources for Depression
- “Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” by Dr. Michelle Bengtson, winner of the Christian Literary Award Reader’s Choice Award
- “Hope Prevails Bible Study” by Dr. Michelle Bengtson, winner of the Christian Literary Award Reader’s Choice Award
- Yes, Christians Get Depressed! There is Hope!
- This Thing Called Depression: Signs and Symptoms
- 10 Verses of Hope for When You are Down or Depressed
- 15 Ways to Help a Depressed Husband or Wife
- Dear Patient, Now I Understand
- 5 Promises from God to the Patient I Didn’t Meet
- Recommended reading on depression
If you are on social media, particularly Facebook, you may want to join the #HopePrevails Community where we offer ongoing support.
Get a free eBook: How to Help a Depressed Loved One