Summary: “Depression is a state of existence marked by a sense of being pressed down, weighed down, or burdened, which affects a person physically, mentally, spiritually, and relationally. In other words, depression is not a state of mind but a state of being.”
“Depression is a state of existence marked by a sense of being pressed down, weighed down, or burdened, which affects a person physically, mentally, spiritually, and relationally. In other words, depression is not a state of mind but a state of being.”
According to Psychiatrists Frank Minrith & Paul Meier, the majority of Americans suffer from a serious, clinical depression at some point in their lives. Most of these people never get help....they just fight this battle on their own.
THE Biblical “FACES” OF DEPRESSION
John 12:27 "Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ’Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
Mark 14:34 And He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch."
ILLUS: I ran across an advertisement for Paxil, an anti-depressant. It began with these words…
Loss of Interest
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 very real part of life for many people
ILLUS: At the famous Minrith-Meier Clinics - in an average week, 50,000 people will visit for therapy. Seventy-five percent of these clients, says Dr. Meier, will have either
clinical depression or some sort of anxiety disorder.
Let me repeat… Depression can be a very real problem
I. God gives us a case study in clinical depression right here in I Kings 19
From this text we find that Elijah experienced many of the classic symptoms…
* Fear - “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life….” 1 Kings 19:3
* Suicidal tendencies – “(Elijah) prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, LORD,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ 1 Kings 19:4
* Excessive tiredness – “Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep…” 1 Kings 19:5 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.” 1 Kings 19:10
* AND he experienced this depression for a long time – nearly 2 months
Now, what’s really bizarre about this is (that just days before) Elijah had preached one of the greatest sermons of his life. He confronted 400 prophets of Baal on the Mt. Carmel and exposed them as the false prophets they really were. And because of Elijah’s faith & obedience God literally sent fire down out of heavens to consume the sacrifice he’d placed on the altar, and then a few hours later sent a downpour of rain on a land that hadn’t had rain for 3 years.
Why would a man who had preached a impressive message and 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)… there’s probably all kinds of reasons, but the fact is – he did. 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.
II. But that’s not where God left him
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!”
III. 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. You could have cut it with a knife. AND God did not say – “get a hold of yourself Elijah. This is a SINFUL attitude … where’s your faith man???”