Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.” (James 5:17)
Don’t you love the transparency with which God’s Word describes real men and women? On almost every page of Scripture you meet people “just like us.” ……
Take Elijah, for example. (James 5:17) says that God’s prophet Elijah was “a man with a nature like ours.” We meet him at a point of real depression in (1 Kings), and from his life we see this truth: even the most godly people get discouraged at times …..
There are ways to guard against taking the full plunge into depression, but first, let’s get some bad advice out of the way:
* Find a place by yourself ~
In (1 Kings 19), Elijah had just come off a major victory. He was physically exhausted and emotionally spent. He sat under a juniper tree — an almost lifeless, leafless shrub.
So why was Elijah sitting under that tree? I’ll tell you — he wanted to be by himself. The fact is that depression can shut out something we need most: people who are concerned, who love us and want to support us …..
Listen, those dark clouds are not going away as long as you are trying to do life on your own. Honestly consider the alternative: suffocate in the smog or fight through the fog!
* Focus on the negative ~
Everyone faces both negative and positive things in life, but notice how Elijah focused on the negative. In (1 Kings 19:4), he had lost his grip on the truth. He basically says, “I am left alone.” (No, he wasn’t). “I am no better than my fathers. I have accomplished nothing. I have wasted my whole life.”
Hear this: No One accomplishes all they want to, but if you are serving Christ, pouring out your life for the glory of God to the best of your ability, then you are accomplishing everything you need to. Practice letting God’s Word inform your emotions — not the other way around ….
* Forget God’s provision ~
Isn’t this the same guy who God fed for three years with just a loaf of bread and a jar of oil? Isn’t this the guy who won a major victory when God poured down fire from heaven, and the same guy who killed 450 false prophets and obliterated idolatry in front of the home crowd at high noon?! Elijah had seen a few miracles. It wasn’t like God had never come through for him. Don’t you want to say, “Hey, Elijah! God has never failed you, man! Why are you doubting Him?”
But we do the same thing. I do this! And not once every now and then, but often. So Guilty! How lame is that? Can my honestly admitting thaf truly inspire anyone? But it’s true …
We forget God’s faithful provision and how good He has been to us. Always is. We forget who God is and how He never changes or fails. We forget how He cannot lie and we can stand solidly on His promises …..
Negative focus and short memory aside, Elijah was met by God in his depression, and he let God change him. Ask yourself whether you need to do the following:
1). Let God confront you ~ In verse 9, Elijah slept in a cave and God came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then, in spite of Elijah’s lame excuses, the Lord ministered to him. I love that. God wasn’t angry or judgmental; He just ministered grace to him …..
2). Be still and let God reveal Himself to you ~ Watch how God showed Himself strong to Elijah. God told him to stand outside, “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper” (1 Kings 19:11–12). That is sweet. Elijah had seen the dramatic stuff and it didn’t faze him so much anymore. But then God “whispered” to him, and Elijah got fired up …..
3). Let God provide for you ~ After He revealed Himself to Elijah in a small gentle voice, God supernaturally sent food and rest. God will minister to you if you will receive His provision …..
4). Immediately do what God says ~ God gave some specific instructions to Elijah in (vs. 15–17). Whatever God is saying you need to do, and do it immediately. Obedience is the complete key to all blessings, not to mention the base root (in my opinion) to servitude, surrender, and faithfulness …..
5). Get involved with people again — reconnect ~ After this, God sent Elijah back to civilization. What is it you need to do today to get back in the game? Ask God to give you the courage to meet and follow Him each day and He will renew your heart with hope ….
This is precisely why the passage in (Hebrews 10:25) is so vitally important: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together; as is the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as we see the day approaching.” We need the strength and unity that comes from the laughter and fellowship together ….
“We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1)
Let’s pray ~
Father God, I confess that I am prone to negative thoughts and ingratitude for all You’ve already done for me. Please help me to get quiet before You. I invite You to do Your convicting work in my heart, right now today, and I ask You to show me the steps I need to take. I trust You and I praise You for Your goodness and faithfulness. Please take my hand and be the lifter of my head. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen ……