2 Peter 1:3 …as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue… (NKJV)
Life is hard sometimes. No doubt as Christians we are faced with the reality of discouragement, depression, despair and worry. What, or who, we choose in response defines us as being different from the world. The world quickly turns to many means of remedy. Christians have a much greater solution available.
Elijah was a heroic prophet in the Old Testament. Who can forget his dramatic encounter with the evil prophets of Baal. He prayed that God would send fire from heaven to consume the water-saturated altar (1Kings 18) and it happened instantly. Elijah experienced God’s presence in dramatic ways!
In 1 Kings 19 we find the wicked Jezebel, wife of King Ahab, threatening Elijah’s life. She promised to kill him within 24 hours. Its seems amazing at this point in his life that he would be intimidated by Jezebel. But he was, he really was!
1 Kings 19:3-4 And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (NKJV)
Elijah became so worried and anxious that he prayed to God to die. Elijah really knew God well and had no doubt about His power. God sent fire when Elijah prayed, so he probably had no misconceptions about the result of praying for his own death. He really meant it, he wanted to die.
Elijah ran scared. He was frantic and in despair.
He reached the deepest point of depression
in human experience.
He was all alone out in the desert. He was physically and emotionally used up. He was wanted “dead or alive” by the King and had just humiliated the entire religious community which hadn’t won him any popularity points.
Elijah had reached the end of his rope. He had had enough. If a Godly person has ever deserved to be depressed and despondent, it was Elijah. And he embraced it. He got lost in self-pity to the ultimate extreme: he wished he was dead.
What was the answer to this extreme despair? Was it any of our modern therapies, medications or self-help techniques? Was the answer suicide? Was the answer to embark on a long journey of self awareness and self focus? None of the above.
God was the answer. Elijah was God’s true child, just as any Christian is today. God met him at his need and Elijah responded. He spent an adequate period of spiritual rest in God’s presence. Then Elijah had a talk with God. He got to talk with God directly. Christians speak to God in prayer and communicate with Him through the Scripture, the Holy Spirit and Godly shepherds.
1 Kings 19:12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. (NKJV)
Elijah quieted his spirit and got his mind off himself. God communicated in a still small voice that Elijah was now ready to hear. God had drawn Elijah up out of his self-pity and taken his mind off his circumstances and depression. No matter how God may accomplish it in your life, He will always have the answer.
Next, God showed Elijah that he still had a job to do (1Kings 19:15-18). Have you ever wondered how quickly depression or worry would cease if you were busy fulfilling God’s plan for your life? How much self-pity can we have when we are serving others, doing good deeds and helping spread the Gospel? How is it possible to be despondent if we meditate on eternal life in Jesus Christ and what unimaginable treasures God is storing up for us in Heaven?
No matter where you are at emotionally,
God still has a purpose for your life.
Pursuing and fulfilling that purpose leaves little time, or need for anxiety and hopelessness. Elijah had reached a point that is about the lowest possible a human can experience. He truly wanted his life to end. He was so focused on himself; his eyeballs were probably facing backwards in his skull! This is the essence of both the problem and the answer concerning life’s discouragement and anxiety.
When we are looking anywhere except at God,
life will quickly overpower and discourage us.
Getting our eyes back on God is always the solution. Elijah turned to God in his darkest hour even when he was all alone. You can too. If you are experiencing discouragement, depression or worry today, look to God. He is the answer!
Look to God for help. Look to God for encouragement. Look to God for purpose. Look to God for meaning. Look to God for friendship. Look to God.
Father, You have all the answer to life’s difficulties. Teach us to look to You first. In Jesus name, Amen.
Contemplation: Where do you instinctively turn when life gets hard? If God is not primarily THE answer, who/what is?
Application: God can use many things to help us deal with the hard times in life. But He must remain the original and first source of our help.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?