Summary: America is dealing with a national epidemic called depression. Through Elijah's experience with depression and how God ministered to him and delivered him, we can learn how to not only cope with depression but to overcome it.
DEALING WITH DEPRESSION
In America, today, we are dealing with a national epidemic. It’s not a virus, a bacterial infection, or germ of any kind. It is a spiritual, emotional, and physical epidemic called depression.
** 15% of Americans will require medical treatment for depression in their lifetime.
** Around 8 million Americans are clinically depressed to the point that they cannot function at their jobs.
** Depression affects each of us at one time or another and to one degree or another.
No one is immune to depression, not preachers, prophets, etc.
** Many strong believers in the Bible suffered from immense depression at some point during their life: Moses, John the Baptist, David, Jonah, and the Apostle Paul. Today, we will look at Elijah.
I Kings 19:1-4 Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” 3 And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”
Elijah has despaired so much that he just wishes he was dead. Have you ever thought or said that yourself?
A. WHY DID ELIJAH BECOME DEPRESSED TO THE POINT OF DEATH?
1. Elijah was overcome with irrational thoughts. FEAR!
His fear came as a result of being threatened by a woman. He’s not thinking rationally, or he would have remembered all that God had done and the victory that He won, and realized that this Jezebel was no match for God.
We often do the same thing when we have seemingly insurmountable problems come into our lives. We feel overwhelmed and helpless. **Helpless is not a bad place to be, though, when we know we are helpless we should go to the Lord of Glory who can handle any problem. Faith is the Key!!
2. Elijah had become a loner.
Facing a long hard battle by himself took a huge toll on Elijah. When faced with this great problem, he continued to separate himself from his friends and went on alone. His discouragement drove him further into depression because he isolated himself. This isolation further perpetuated his depression via loneliness.
Oftentimes, when things get tough we do the same thing. We get off by ourselves and stew on the problems alone. Our friends are a great support group and when we are battling depression, that is the worst time to abandon our support group.
3. Elijah was feeling the “normalness” that comes after a great Victory.
Elijah was a strong man of God. His valleys were higher than most people’s mountains. Reality was that he was back to normal after a great spiritual victory. His thought process, though, told him different. He experienced the awesome power of God to such a level, that “normalness” seemed a deep, terrible valley.
My missions experiences. When I was a missions minister, I would lead mission teams overseas 3 to 4 times a year. While on these trips, I would feel the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit working in and through me. I would see God do amazing things. I would see many people come to faith in Jesus Christ. I would then come home and things would go back to normal. I would go to work in the pharmacy each day. Now, normal wasn't a bad place to be, but when you've been on the spiritual mountaintop for 2 weeks or longer, going back to normal seemed like the lowest valley on the earth.
4. Elijah was physically exhausted, spiritually drained, and emotionally spent.
Elijah had been living under grueling conditions and stress for many years fighting a great spiritual battle that kept him under enormous pressure. He has just experienced the climax of an awesome spiritual battle and Elijah is just physically drained.
*** old saying.... “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.”..... In other words, If you’re living under constant, relentless stress, you’ll finally break under the pressure. You must give yourself time for rest and refreshment.
5. Elijah was lost in Self-Pity.
“I alone am left”.......actually he wasn’t, this was his feelings talking; not reality.
“I am no better than my fathers”.... so what? Who put that pressure on him to be better than his father? Himself!