Tag Archives: Elijah

What Christians Should Know About Depression

WHAT CHRISTIANS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DEPRESSION

By Carolyn Dale Newell

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Psalm 34:17 NKJV

I almost don’t recognize her. She cried, trying to make sense of what was happening. She prayed, but God felt so far away. She feared something was spiritually wrong.

She recognized the familiar symptoms: endless tears for no reason, or any reason, Loss of appetite, lack of interest in life’s activities, and loss of interest in life itself, lack of sleep, and at times, too much sleep.

That was me, one year ago. God has brought me so far from those days. Ten years had passed since my initial bout with depression. How did it happen again? I had declared victory over it. I am the strong author encouraging others, but Christ’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. Strength isn’t an immunity to depression. Maybe, that is why God wanted me to tell my story.

Depression carries an alarming stigma in the church. Many people have never been touched by depression, including preachers. Some wrongly consider depression a sin or a curse from the devil. The result can be deadly: someone stops their meds and they experience the withdraw symptom of suicidal tendencies.

Depression is prevalent in Scripture. Jessie lacked confidence in his son, David, to become king. David did not immediately take possession of the throne, still occupied by Saul. David ran for his life, like a hunted animal, from King Saul. Possibly the one good relationship David experienced was with Jonathan, Saul’s son. King David’s family was dysfunctional His children committed rape and murder amongst themselves.

King David, a man after God’s own heart, slayed giants, but he traveled many roads of despondency. We cannot consider ourselves weak if the mighty warrior, David, suffered the same emotional sting.

Elijah, a prophet, prayed for the widow’s dead son, and the boy was revived. Elijah prayed for rain, and God showered the dry land with rain after three years of drought. Elijah mocked the false prophets, putting them to shame when God licked up water with flames. Yet, Elijah ran, hiding, fearful of one woman, Jezebel. Elijah begged God to take his life. Have you been there? I have, and God ministered to me, like He ministered to David and Elijah. He will tend to your troubles also.

God cares for His hurting children. Like our focal verse says, He will deliver us from all our troubles. Not part, not some, but all of our troubles. Not in our timing, but in His. Perhaps, not the way we expect to be set free, but God’s plans exceed anything we can ask or think.

I realized I am one of many people who need to stick with anti-depressants. It is a physical condition, a chemical imbalance. I can testify that God can bring you through anything. He will make a way, when no way seems possible.

Lord, Thank You for including the weaknesses of strong men like David and Elijah in Scripture. Help me not be ashamed of depression. I need You so much during this time. Thank You for unconditional love, my Abba Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read 1 Kings 19:1-18.

HIKING THE TRAIL

If you are suffering from depression, please see a doctor for help. It is not a sin. It is not a demon or a curse. It is a medical condition which likely needs medication. Perhaps, you are not the one with depression, but you feel pretty blue today. You are not alone either. God loves you, and He wants to carry your burdens.

Copyright 2017 Carolyn Dale Newell.

Incense Rising Online Study 9

Are you in a storm? Are you coming out of one? Can you recall a trial where you saw the hand of God? Trials serve to strengthen our faith.

There was a widow in Zarephath who needed greater faith. When we meet her in 1 Kings 17:10, she has given up. The famine that Elijah had prayed for was in the land, and she was out of food. This distressed widow is preparing her son’s last meal before they die.

Read 1 Kings 17. What were the two requests Elijah made of the widow?

How did Elijah try to sooth the widow’s fears?

What was the first miracle the widow witnessed?

Do you ever feel like you come out of one storm and head right into another? This widow can sympathize with you. God miraculously provided food for her and her son as long as Elijah resided with them. Their lives were spared from starvation only to have her son become deathly ill. How do you think she felt?

What emotion does she display in verse 18?

Do you think Elijah shared in the frustration of the widow (v. 20)?

Here is Elijah, a prophet, but a man, just like us as James has pointed out (James 5:17). Never feel ashamed when your burdens begin to overwhelm your faith. It happened to Elijah. Like the widow, Elijah was wondering what God was doing and why was God allowing it.

Elijah prayed fervently three times for the boy to be revived before God answered. In 1 Kings 18:42-44, Elijah prayed for rain, but he prayed seven times before seeing a tiny cloud. That is almost double the prayer time when compared to the time spent in prayer for the widow’s son. This is a great example for us to understand how God stretches our faith.

According to 1 Kings 17:24, how did this second storm affect the widow’s faith?

God enlarged the faith of Elijah and the widow both. Elijah sounded confident when he declared to the widow that her flour and oil would never run out. God had already provided for Elijah using a babbling brook and the ravens. God had told Elijah a widow would provide food for him in Zarephath, but Scripture never tells us that Elijah was warned about the boy’s illness and death.

Storms catch us off-guard. That is the nature of a storm. Have you ever been out on a summer’s day and suddenly the sky grows black and thunder rumbles? Elijah was caught off-guard with this boy’s sickness.

Whenever God made a promise to Elijah, Elijah was confident. God made no promise concerning the widow’s son.

Do you think Elijah lacked some confidence as he prayed for the boy?

God has promised us many things throughout His Word. Which promises comfort you most? Which ones do you need to cling to more?

Man is a promise-breaker. God is a promise-keeper. We may not know to what extent God will provide for us, but we know He will provide (Phil. 4:19) We may not know when the peace will arrive, but we know it comes (Phil. 4:6-7). We may feel alone, but we know we are never alone (Heb. 13:5). Life may be horrible, but we know some way, God will work it all out for good (Rom. 8:28). Rest on His promises today.

Lord, help us discover Your promises as we read Your Word. Thank You for always keeping the promises You have made. Help us trust You to always come through. Amen.