For When You are Down
In I Kings 19, we find the prophet Elijah deeply troubled and depressed. He was threatened by the king and queen who wanted him dead. All he had done was tell the truth. He does what is needed and everything seems to go wrong once he does what is right! He did as God commanded. Now, he was alone and hunted. You can do everything right in your life and still find yourself alone and beaten up FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING! Despite the fact that you may have done what God intended, people can hate and despise you! Even mistakes are forgiven in the Bible, so why is it that you feel so bad? You question, "Why is this happening to me!"
In I Kings 19, Elijah "came and sat down under a tree; and he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life..." He had it. He wanted to give up. It seemed like everyone hated him. It seemed like the whole world was against him. He wanted to die. BUT GOD HAD ANOTHER VIEW OF HIS LIFE. God did not see Elijah's life as a failure. To show this, God sent an angel to feed and comfort Elijah. Now, this tells us something of God, doesn't it? When we are beaten up by life, wanting to give up, God knows it. God cares. Thus, God sought to come and comfort Elijah. God will also seek to comfort you in these down times. Are you going to shut out God or let him comfort you?
So often, when we are down and depressed, we won't let others help us. We won't listen to good things. We don't care about being helped or loved or blessed. We just wallow in our pain, full of remorse and pity. Elijah was there, BUT God didn't want him to stay there! God helped and cared for him through HIS angel, but God did not let Elijah wallow in his pain. Twice God said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (I Kings 19:9,13) Twice God made Elijah think of what he was doing, to state his priorities. When we are in the midst of depression, we often don't respond normally. Everything looks bleak. We feel there is no way out. Where others see a beautiful day, we see clouds. When there are blessings in our lives, we only see the bad. We don't see what God sees... that it's time to choose between life and depression.
Yes, it is possible to worship depression. When you are down, sometimes depression becomes your God, your crutch, your view of life, your best friend. Depression is the first thing you feel in the morning and the last thing you care about at night (shouldn't other things be that important?). You ignore your spouse, kids, family, friends, worship, hygiene, and more. Your world shrinks. All you see is negative. Irritability becomes your friend. From your heart comes the lament: "Alas, Nobody knows what trouble I've seen!" So the question from God is, "What are you doing?" Are you going to be married to depression or your spouse? Are you going to worship depression or your God? You have to make a choice. Let depression be your best friend and future, or work through why you are depressed as God makes Elijah do here.
God doesn't want you to stay depressed. God wants you to learn from the depression to sort out your priorities and decide if you will choose to change some things. And that's up to you! After talking to Elijah one-on-one on that lonely mountain, God sent Elijah on a new mission (maybe your depression will send you on a new path?). God and Elijah were very close from that day onward. As Elijah chose to follow God once again, God remained close. Even as Elijah was dying, God came and took him home to heaven. The depression brought Elijah and God together. When Elijah chose to leave that mountain and get on with his work for God, God watched over him the rest of his life.
Don't see depression as a bad thing. It is a time to make choices, re-examine your priorities, choose what you are going to do with your life. You've got a choice.... sit and wallow in the depression, or decide that depression is not where you want to be the rest of your life. Do something about it. Learn what made you depressed to begin with (God may in fact be using the depression to force you think!). Make some changes. Move on. Take what you've learned in the depression and make a difference with your life. Look for God in the depression. Look for angels round about you! Depression isn't the end of your world, unless you allow it to be. It is the turning point to a new world of possibilities.