Understanding Depression: Weakness, Willfulness, or Wisdom? Sadness is a common experience in a fallen world. It was even prophesied of the Messiah that he would be a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is 53:3). In this session, we will look at the range of sadness that humans can experience (from healthy to disordered and sinful), the different kinds of dynamics that can contribute to it (biological, social, situational, psychological, personal, and spiritual), and the different approaches the church has taken to severe depression over the centuries. Attention will be given to the contributions of contemporary naturalistic research on depression as well as its inadequacies from a Christian standpoint. Diagnosing symptoms and labels for extreme sadness have their place, but only as means to help suffering and sinful saints to cope with and transform their sadness by means of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the sake of God’s glory.