Summary: Depression is at an epidemic level. I want to introduce you to a prophet you was suffering from situational depression.
1. Illus. of seminary class
• Part of preaching class was given assignment, “explain color to a blind man.”
• Didn’t literally have to go out and find a blind man, just write a paper trying to do it.
• Decided it was impossible, or at least nearly impossible, to do so! How do you explain color to someone who has never experienced anything even remotely like it?
2. Depression is like that. If you have experienced clinical depression, you will never really be able to describe what it is like to someone who hasn’t been there. If you have never been clinically depressed, you will never completely understand what your loved one is going through, no matter how hard you may try to understand.
3. Depression can have many causes. Some people experience depression because something is physically wrong with them (chemical or hormone imbalance). Some people experience depression because they haven’t adequately dealt with spiritual or emotional issues in their life (like Paul Carlisle and his alcoholic dad). But one of the more common types of depression is called “adjustment disorder with depressed mood” in its weaker form, and “situational depression” when it is full-blown. In layman’s terms, situational depression is when life piles so many burdens on your shoulders that something just has to give. The result? Clinical depression
4. Text: I want to look at a prophet who was suffering from this common type of depression. Life had thrown him so many curve balls that finally he just crashed and burned. I want us to learn from Elijah what situational depression is all about, and how we can deal with it.
5. I want to ask and answer three simple questions about situational depression.
I. “WHAT CAUSES SITUATIONAL DEPRESSION?”
1. Remember that situational depression is caused when life piles so many burdens on your shoulders that something just has to give. I want you to look at some of the things Elijah had gone through:
Had just finished a three year period of opposition to Ahab. Endured hardships as he moved from place to place, and was often afraid for his life (chapters 17-18)!
He had just finished confronting the priests of Baal in a spiritual showdown. The end result was that all the false priests had been put to death.
An exhaustive and intense time of prayer for the 3 year drought to be over (18:41-45).
Ran 20 miles from Mt. Carmel to Jezreel so quickly that he outran Ahab’s chariot (18:46).
An unexpected life event- a death threat from Jezebel (19:1-2).
2. For three long years, life had piled burden after burden on Elijah’s back. This death-threat from Jezebel was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Something had to give, and Elijah crashed and burned! He went into a full blown depression.
3. Principle: Situational depression happens when life piles more on our back than we can deal with.
4. Illus. of loading truck at hardware store
• Years ago, I worked at a hardware store.
• Had a man come in and buy large amount of 40 lbs sacks of mortar mix.
• Truck was about to stand on its back end. I told him, “This isn’t a good idea.” He replied, “Why this old truck can take anything!”
• Started out of the store, both back tires blew out before he got to the end of the street!
• You may think you are like that old truck, that you can take anything. There is a limit to what can be put on your back before you have a blowout!
5. These burdens that pile on our backs can come in many forms:
Financial struggles (always too much month left at the end of the money).
Marital problems (ongoing fighting in the home, or even separation or divorce).
Continual periods of care-giving for a child, spouse, or aging parent.
Job stresses (boss on you, worries about job security)
1000 other things.
6. We accumulate these burdens, often thinking, “Hey, I’m dealing with these things just fine!” Then some little tiny life-event happens, something that normally we would take in stride, and we crash and burn! This last tiny straw can be anything: a phone call, a letter, a confrontation, even a …holiday, like Christmas.
7. You may have a big, strong back. You may be used to carrying burdens. You may love Jesus with all your heart. But if too much, too often is piled on even the strongest back, something has to give!
II. “WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SITUATIONAL DEPRESSION?”
1. I’m convinced that many people are suffering from depression, and don’t know it because they aren’t familiar with the symptoms. If we could’ve asked Elijah if he was depressed, I’m convinced he would have said no! Yet when you look at our text, he had many of the classical symptoms of depression: