by Colleen Donahue
It has occurred before that a man or woman who shows great strength, courage or ability suddenly seems to collapse and cannot handle any more strain and hardship. To the amazement of those who thought they could withstand anything they seem to collapse at the slightest push.
Elijah, had shown amazing courage to stand up to King Ahab, his 450 prophets of Baal and all the people of Israel at Mt. Carmel. He had proved the Lord to be the one true God in a display that has never been rivaled.
Then to top off the day he had run to the town of Jezreel in the heavy rain ahead of King Ahab in his chariot. The energy, courage and strength of Elijah seemed solid and unending.
What must be remembered is that in the Lord's business, we work with HIS energy and strength and ability. In ourselves, we have very little, but God has infinite resources to handle what He brings our way. As long as we look to Him for that strength, or courage, or faith or ability, He will maintain us. But when we look away into ourselves we see only fears and inability and weakness.
As we study Elijah again this month we may see a great deal in ourselves and learn some things about.....
What Causes Depression?
Day 1 Elijah had not had time to rest from a strenuous day when he was greeted by a death threat from Ahab's wicked wife Jezebel. I Kings 19:1-2
Day 2 A threat from a woman suddenly seemed to fell a solid oak. Elijah's panic, self pity and final despondency came at a time of exhaustion. He had needed rest and refreshment with God. Now he just looked inward and saw only his weak self. This is one of the causes of depression - exhaustion, followed by other trauma that a person has no energy to deal with. I Kings 19:3-5
Now, before continuing with Elijah's plight, let's look at several other causes of depression....
Day 3 An enormous situation with only a weak, inadequate self to deal with it. Numbers 11:10-15
Day 4 Becoming overwhelmed by all the things that MIGHT happen based on something that has happened. Joshua 7:2-9
Day 5 Undeserved affliction over a period of time with total helplessness to do anything about it. Job 10:1-22
Day 6 Feeling oppressed and forgotten - even by God. Psalm 42:1-11
Day 7 Overwhelming trouble that has broken the heart and there is no one to comfort or sympathize. Psalm 69:1-20
Day 8 Trying to comprehend all the wrong and injustice around us and wanting to understand it all. Psalm 73:16
Day 9 The loss of everything that gives stability and feeling helpless and hopeless to do anything to regain former life. Psalm 137:1
Day 10 Feeling totally alone and abandoned _ everyone is against you. Jeremiah 15:10,18
Day 11 All hope for something is gone and everything seems at an end. Luke 24:17-21
Day 12 Someone else (usually close to you) does something that reflects badly on you. Genesis 27:46
Day 13 Everything seems without purpose or meaning causing us to wonder why we bother to do anything. Job 7:16/ Ecclesiastes 2:17
Day 14 Physical elements over prolonged time in our bodies that make us feel we can't stand it anymore. Jonah 4:8
Day 15 As you look back over the list for the causes of depression, there is a common thread running through them all. Each of the great men and women listed had taken their eyes off God_with all HIS ability and power and strength. Instead, they looked inward to themselves and saw only inability, weakness, fear and inadequacy. The story of Peter walking on the water is a picture of what it is to slip into depression when we take our eyes off Jesus. Matthew 14:22-31
Day 16 Our merciful Heavenly Father knows our human weakness and loves us despite them. Notice how He went to remedy the cause of Elijah's depression -- exhaustion. Sometimes just food and rest can be the cure we need. I Kings 19:5-9
Day 17 Give to God the weight and responsibility of your work and keep it in His hands. I Peter 5:7/ Luke 12:22-31/ Psalm 127:1
Day 18 Concentrate on TODAY, not on what MIGHT happen tomorrow. Matthew 6:34
Day 19 Look to your Heavenly Father to be the real comforter in any hard situation. Let HIM "hold your hand" and keep you through it as a constant companion. Isaiah 41:10-13/ 43:2-3
Day 20 If you are not right with God, then confess your sin. Get back into fellowship with God. Then draw upon His infinite resources for your life. I John 1:8-9 / Proverbs 28:13
Day 21 Spend much time with God. Feed on His words. Let them strengthen your heart. When we know God we are certain that we are NEVER alone and NEVER abandoned. He alone gives life its ultimate meaning and purpose. Jeremiah 15:16/ Psalm 19:8/ Psalm 119:105/ Deuteronomy 33:27a
Day 22 Let God handle the injustices and wrongs of this world. We can't bear the weight. Jesus has already born the injustices of this world on the Cross. Philippians 4:6
Day 23 Become like a little child and look to your Heavenly Father as one that wants to give His children all good things. This is especially important when you've lost everything. Isaiah 46:4/ Psalm 145:13B-19/Philippians 4:6/ II Corinthians 9:8
When Depression Becomes Our Choosing and Sin
Day 24 Depression is likely to hit us at some points in life. It is real and needs to be dealt with. Yet for a man or woman to stay under depression becomes a sin of unbelief against God. Each person must WILLFULLY CHOOSE to look away from their situation to the God who is ABLE. Notice how King David in his most desperate times would suddenly look away to God and regain hope. Psalm 56:1-13/ 57:6-7/69:29-30/ 73:26-28/ Habakkuk 3:17-19
Day 25 After God cared for Elijah's depression through His angels what did Elijah do? I Kings 19:7-9
Day 26 We can never run away and hide from God. Elijah of all men knew that. What was his answer to God when confronted with the question "What are you doing here?" I Kings 19:9b-10
Day 27 God's answer to Elijah was graphic as well as audible. While Elijah wanted to reform everything by tempest and judgement, God wanted him to see a long-suffering and gentle way. He wanted to show Elijah that His work on earth would not be with destruction and pitiless harshness. I Kings 19:11-13a
Day 28 The Lord gave Elijah another chance to step out of his self-pity and depression. He did this by asking him the same question --"What are you doing here?" How did Elijah respond this time? I Kings 19:13b-14
Day 29 It was a sad affair for this great man of God to persist in his self-pity and depression. A life that may have had much more useful service was given his final orders by God. I Kings 19:15-18
Day 30 Are you continuing in self-pity and depression _ maybe even enjoying the attention and comfort it brings from others? Hebrews 3:12-14
Day 31 Whatever your situation, whatever your loss, however dark the skies may look, what is promised to you? I Corinthians 1:9/ I Peter 4:19/ II Thessalonians 3:3/ II Timothy 2:13/ Hebrews 10:23/ Deuteronomy 7:9
EPILOG: God's love for Elijah did not stop after the scene and encounter at Mt.Horeb. As Elijah went about his last days, God's power was with him until finally, He was just taken up to Heaven by-passing the Valley of Death.
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