If you’re someone who sometimes struggles with depression, you’re not alone. Being a believer does not his us from difficulty or discouragement. Sometimes even the greatest of God’s people can feel overwhelmed by their circumstances. Consider the story of Elijah.
Elijah was a prophet of God who lived during the reign of an evil king named Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel. Of all the sins Ahab and Jezebel committed, the worst was their leading the nation of Israel to abandon God in order to worship idols. The Lord told Elijah to gather all the people of Israel, along with the false prophets, to a mountain called Carmel where they were to build two altars: one for Jehovah God and one for the false gods. Then Elijah said to the people, “Therefore, let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” (1 Kings 18:23-24) Scripture says that the false prophets cried out to their gods and pleaded with them to send down fire upon their altar, yet nothing happened. Then Elijah laid his sacrifice upon his altar and had the people drench the sacrifice with water. Three times he had them pour water upon the sacrifice and altar until they were completely saturated. “And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:36-38)
“And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.” (1 Kings 18:40)
One would think that such a mighty man of God would never struggle with fear or discouragement. Yet, we read from scripture, “And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’ And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:1-4)
How could someone be so fearless one moment and so fearful the next? One of the reasons is because Elijah was only human. We read from the book of James, “Elijah was a human being, even as we are.” (James 5:17 NIV) Though he was a great man of God, he was only a man. There is a passage in the book of Psalms that has always encouraged me, “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14) God never forgets that we are only human. Because He remembers how frail and weak we are, He pities us. He knows how much we need His help, and He has compassion on us.
Are you currently struggling with discouragement or depression? If so, I encourage you to join me again tomorrow as we continue our study on this important subject. Until then, God bless you, Brethren.
* Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.