Summary: God speaks, even in our darkest moments.
QUIET ENOUGH TO LISTEN
I Kings 19.1-18
C: Listening to God
Th: Life Can Be Hard
Pr: GOD SPEAKS, EVEN IN OUR DARKEST MOMENTS.
TS: We will find in our study of I Kings 19 how God graciously dealt with and healed the depression of Elijah.
I. TREPIDATION (1-3)
II. EXHAUSTION (4-8)
III. PRESCRIPTION (9-19)
PA: How is the change to be observed?
• God is speaking, so be quiet and listen.
• When you are feeling down, look up and see God (get perspective).
RMBC 19 November 06 AM
In the beginning of the movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins the hobbit describes to the wizard, Gandalf, his need to move away from his home in the Shire. Before he gets any older, he desires to get out and see the world one more time.
He describes himself this way, “I am feeling thin – stretched really – like butter scraped on too many pieces of bread.”
When I was recently reminded of that line, I identified with that feeling.
It is an apt description of what has happened to me over the past month.
When I was growing up in the church, there was a debate being waged.
The question that was being asked was…
1. Can a Christian be depressed?
Through my years of pastoral counseling, I have found that I spend time helping people in three major areas: premarital counseling, marital counseling and counseling for depression.
It has been hard for me to not accept the notion that, yes, a Christian can be depressed.
In a book entitled Happiness Is a Choice, the authors share these statistics: "the majority of people suffer from depression at one time or another. One in twenty is presently experiencing it. Depression is a leading cause of suicide. Depression occurs two times as often in women as in men. Depression occurs three times as often in people in higher socio-economic groups. Depression occurs more often in the fourth and fifth decades of life, although it may occur at any stressful period. . ."
It may surprise you, but one of the professions that depression has skyrocketed during the past twenty-five years is the pastorate.
It is those same twenty-five years that I have professionally served in the church and I have seen many of my friends burnout in ministry, being either fired because they could no longer function at a high level or leaving the pastorate altogether and permanently because the stress was too much.
The horror stories happen with surprising and alarming frequency.
So, what causes depression to happen?
Usually, there are multiple reasons.
After reading a book called Man of the House during his commute home from work, the enlightened husband stormed into the house to confront his wife. Pointing his finger in her face, he said, "From now on, I want you to know that I am the man of this house, and my word is law. Tonight you are to prepare me a gourmet meal and a sumptuous dessert. Then, when I’m done eating, you’re going to draw me a bath so I can have a relaxing soak. And when I’m finished with my bath, guess who’s going to dress me and comb my hair?"
His wife responded, "My guess is the funeral director."
Have you ever noticed that life does not always work out the way we want it to…
2. When life is not turning out as expected, it can lead to a chronic sadness.
That chronic sadness would be another way to describe depression.
But thankfully, it does not have to be the end of the story.
Many years ago a young Midwestern lawyer suffered from such deep depression that his friends thought it best to keep all knives and razors out of his reach. He questioned his life’s calling and the prudence of even attempting to follow it through. During this time he wrote, "I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not."
But somehow, from somewhere, Abraham Lincoln received the encouragement he needed, and the achievements of his life thoroughly vindicated his bout with discouragement.
Swindoll, You and Your Problems Transformed by Thorns, p. 58.
One of England’s finest preachers was C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892). Frequently during his ministry he was plunged into severe depression, due in part to gout but also for other reasons. Sometimes he would be out of the pulpit for two to three months at a time. In a biography of the "prince of preachers", Arnold Dallimore wrote, "What he suffered in those times of darkness we may not know...even his desperate calling on God brought no relief. ’There are dungeons’, he said, ’beneath the castles of despair.’"