God counsels a depressed prophet

It was during the days of one of the most notorious kings of Israel that a man named Elijah endured the difficult task of being the Lord’s spokesman to God’s people. Eventually the tension mounted to such levels that a battle of gods ensued. 1 Kings 18 tells the story; not surprisingly, the true God, the LORD of Israel wins.

This did not sit well with wicked queen Jezebel. After such a momentous victory, Elijah is so overwhelmed with fear because of the Queen, that he flees the country (1 Kings 19:1-3), leaving behind even his closest companion. Once again, not surprisingly, these initial steps of depression produce suicidal thoughts (1 Kings 19:4). Because of his self-perceived zeal, he expected a somewhat nicer life; instead, he is left alone to the point where he starts believing the lie that he is all alone in as very unique predicament (1 Kings 19:9-10). Like depression always does, the unmet expectations made his circumstances feel ten times worse than they really were.

But God is a wonderful depression counsellor (Isaiah 9:6). First God gives the depressive Elijah some food and drink (1 Kings 19:5-9). It might appear a little non-spiritual, but God knows that a hungry human is rarely a godly human. God then assures Elijah in the most gentle of ways of His own presence (1 Kings 19:11-13) and promptly sends His prophet back to work (1 Kings 15-16). Then God goes to the heart of the matter, and corrects the lie that brought Elijah into the despair to begin with. God assures Elijah that though he might feel all alone, he is not, in fact, God has a rather large crowd of men who were living in exactly the same circumstances as Elijah, and who were just as zealous for the Lord (1 Kings 19:18). And so the depressed prophet once again thrived in his God appointed tasks of life.

Sometimes it takes us much longer to come out of depression – especially in a permanent way. Not all of us are as firm in the faith as Elijah was that one counselling session with God’s Word returns us to our spiritual sanity. But we have the same word of God as Elijah did, and we have the same God as Elijah did. When fear, depression, loneliness, unmotivatedness, and self-pity overwhelm us, let us turn to our theology for answers. May we remind ourselves of God’s presence. May we do the next right thing in all our daily tasks. May our faith in God’s power drown out all self-pity and despair.

God counsels a depressed prophet
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