Many of us will go through periods of spiritual depression. Elijah is considered to be one of the strongest characters in the Bible. Following his triumph on Mount Carmel, 1 Kings chapter 18 verses 20-40, we may be surprised to discover him a short while later in the wilderness, asking God to take his life from him, 1 Kings chapter 19 verses 1-4.
Christians are not immune from depression; therefore, we would do well to consider how we can confront this reality. A consideration of Elijah’s experience provides us with valuable guidance:
• Firstly, we must seek to gain control over self. Elijah allowed self to dominate. He got lost in self-pity, which led to a victim mentality, e.g. ‘I alone am left, and they seek to take my life’, 1 Kings chapter 19 verse 10. He had no thought for the 7000, who needed his support, 1 Kings 19 verse 18.
• Secondly, we must learn to view our circumstances correctly. Circumstances can dominate our lives and cause us to lose sight of God. They are not meant to drive us away from God but to bring Him near to us.
• Thirdly, we must learn to ‘rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him’, Psalm 37 verse 7. Elijah had to learn patience and appreciate that God had other ways of working to his own. If God had allowed Elijah’s impatience ‘to win the day’, he would have died a disillusioned man, instead of going to heaven without dying!
• Fourthly, we can turn to a loving and patient God. God did not treat Elijah harshly or abandon him, 1 Kings chapter 19 verse 4. He ministered to his physical and spiritual condition. He was challenging but not harsh. He used him in His service again.