This week I have been teaching my students about the life of Elijah. The story that comes to most of our minds is his showdown with the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. Elijah has a mountaintop experience after God demonstrates his power to all the idolaters in Israel. Elijah is elated -- for awhile.
You see, Queen Jezebel worshiped Baal, and she was furious with Elijah for humiliating her and for killing all of Baal's prophets. She sent word to the king that she wanted Elijah dead. When Elijah heard the news, he fled into the wilderness, and hid in a cave where he became overwhelmed with grief and sadness. His depression was so great that he stopped eating and begged God to take his life.
Elijah felt alone. He thought he
was the only one left who worshiped God. In 1 Kings 19:18, God tells Elijah that there are 7000 men who have not bowed down to Baal. Depression often clouds our thinking. Elijah wasn't really alone, but in his sorrows, he felt abandoned by God. Elijah was so focused on his circumstances, that he failed to recognize God's presence.
When we are lonely and depressed we tend to feel
sorry for ourselves. We can’t see all the blessings in our lives. God had just
used Elijah to prove His might and now Elijah is hiding in a cave feeling sorry
for himself. When we are down, we need to focus on what we have to be thankful
for. It also helps to look for ways to help others. Elijah was so caught up in
himself that he failed to see the 7000 others worshiping God.
How do you think this story might have been
different if Elijah had connected with the 7000? We need other believers in our lives. The Church is a body -- we need all our parts in order to be all that God called us to be. We need encouragement, accountability,
fellowship – we need each other. I could
not have made it through my first husband’s death without the church. They were the
hands and feet of Jesus in my life. We need church. If you aren’t going to church, I challenge
you to find one. Make it a priority to
find a church where you can attend.
A side note: If anyone tells you that Christians don't get depressed, remember Elijah. He was a great prophet of God, and yet he despaired to the point of longing for death to overtake him.
Labels: Depression, Mental Health, Suicide