Summary: God has a cure for Depression. Part 1 gives the reasons - part 2 gives the answers!
What do we do when we are depressed?
Irritability, sadness, exhaustion, low self-image, destructive self-criticism, shame, guilt, manic behavior, suicidal thoughts or acts.
ILLUS: In the February addition of the Reader’s Digest there was an advertisement for Paxil, an anti-depressant. It began with these words
…"Depressed Mood Loss of Interest, Sleep Problems, Difficulty Concentrating, Agitation, Restlessness…"
Then it concluded with these words: "Life is too precious to let another day go by feeling not quite ’yourself.’ If you’ve experienced some of these symptoms nearly every day, for at least two weeks, a chemical imbalance could be to blame. And life can feel difficult ALL DAY."
APPLY: To read this advertisement you would believe that most (if not all) of those suffering from depression are victims of a chemical imbalance. And indeed, the Holy Grail of psychiatrists is to find that magic pill, that powerful potion that will correct that imbalance and give people everywhere relief from the dark moments of sadness and hopelessness.
Depression is real and many people fight it!
But we serve an AWESOME GOD! He gives us a case study in clinical depression right here in the Bible – If you have a Bible turn to I Kings 19
* Fear - “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life….” Verse 3
* Seek Solitude “…he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey...” Vs. 3-4
* Suicidal tendencies – ‘I have had enough, LORD,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than
my ancestors.’ Verse 4
* Excessive tiredness – “Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep…” Verse 5
he slept for a couple of days… maybe longer
* Feelings of rejection – “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites
have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your
prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they
are trying to kill me too.” Verse 10
* AND he experienced this depression for a long time – nearly 2 months
Why would a man who had experienced some of the most powerful displays of God’s power… Why would he suddenly be crippled by fear, hopelessness and despair? Why would he run away to a desolate corner of the world and seek to die?
(pause)… He probably thought that the miracle at Carmel would have been the means of effecting the conversion of the whole court and of the country, but, finding himself mistaken, he is greatly discouraged. (Adam Clarke)
He entered Jezreel full of hope. But Jezebel’s threat cause his faith suddenly failed him. He had been a part of the greatest miracles known to man, and still people didn’t want his God and wanted to see him dead.
And what this tells us is that even God’s most dynamic servants can suffer from depression. It’s not necessarily a mark of a lack of faith. It’s not necessarily a mark of an immoral lifestyle.
Elijah was THE man of God in his day. And now he’s so far DOWN in the depths of despair – even UP looks wrong to him.
But I have great hope for you today. God didn’t leave him this way.
God didn’t say: “well sorry Elijah – you have a chemical imbalance, and Paxil hasn’t been invented yet – so I can’t help you!”
long before healing could be bought in the little purple pills
long before we had clinics and psychiatrists and psychologists
(not meaning any disrespect to psychiatrists or psychologists or the clinics they run)
But, long before all of that… God healed a man of depression & it was not an isolated instance. And what God did for Elijah, He can do for you & me too
I want you to notice what God did to heal Elijah
1st – God recognized that Elijah’s depression was not an imaginary problem. Elijah’s depression was real. It was tangible. AND God did not say – “get a hold of yourself Elijah. This is a SINFUL attitude … where’s your faith man???”
Oh, no… God didn’t treat Elijah roughly.
In answer to Elijah’s prayer to die, God just lets him sleep. Then God’s angel feeds him and lets him sleep some more. Then God sends him down to the desert in the South for 40 days and nights.
In all that time, God doesn’t say a word… God doesn’t offer any council. God doesn’t set Elijah down and have a face to face talk. In all that time, Elijah is left alone – Elijah’s given time to rest and to think….
In essence, that’s what God did with Elijah. No sermons, no long counseling sessions… just love and rest.
IV. But eventually God did deal with Elijah’s depression