To be seen, to be valued, to be understood, is perhaps the most intrinsic need of the human soul.
Elijah was a true historical figure whose story tells us volumes about real life depression. After defeating four hundred fifty prophets of the false God, Baal, by calling on the One True God to rain down fire upon their pathetically dark souls, Elijah’s life was now threatened by Jezebel, wife of Ahab, King of Israel. Elijah had just come off one of the greatest spiritual victories ever recorded in Scripture and should have been dancing on the mountain in heavenly ecstasy. Instead he is at the peak of depression, ready to give up his life. Elijah felt as though he had been spent for naught, that he did exactly what God told him to do, and now there was a bounty on his head, and he was “no better than my ancestors”, no better than Abraham and Moses, and the prophets who had come before him. He felt that he was abandoned, and God no longer saw him. But believe it or not, God is not offended by our brutal honesty. Have you met the Psalmists?
“I am forgotten as though I were dead…I have become like broken pottery.” Psalm 31
“Wake up, Lord! Why do you sleep? Why do you hide your face? Psalm 44
“Your terrors have destroyed me…darkness is my closest friend.” Psalm 88
Injustice, disappointment, and disillusionment are as much a part of our human existence as are fulfillment and joy, and we never have to disguise the reality of our emotional state. God was ready for Elijah’s depressive downfall, and He responded by providing for him the basic needs of life— food, water, and rest. He didn’t just reply, “Get over, it Elijah.” He saw, listened, and heard, and gently and lovingly interacted with him, giving Him the intimate attention of heaven. The truth here is that whatever is crushing your heart, however used you are feeling, no matter how much your value seems to have been diminished―it is not over. There is more yet to come, and while right now all you can feel is the dark shadow of defeat, God is not through with you yet. His plan is immoveable, His purposes eternal and unshakable.
That’s not how we’re taught to deal with life. We are taught that life just isn’t fair. We are indeed taught to ‘get over it’, get back up, get the one responsible for your demise. Do what you have to do, take it from someone who has it. And instead, God comes in a gentle whisper and says, “I have it, all that you need. Take it from me. I have redeemed you, you are precious in my sight. I have called you by name, and you are mine.” You won’t find these words from the false gods of our culture, this promise is not from the many Baals of international religion. This is from the personal Creator, the “Father of heavenly lights, in whom there is no shadow of turning.”
Depression stems from a myriad of places. It is the mother of desperation, the son of rejection, the brother of despair. But hope is in one place, coming from the One True Man, Jesus Christ. He is not asleep. He is not too busy. He is not backed up with someone else’s dilemmas. God is not bound by space or time, he has the entire span of eternity to attend to you intimately and everything around you. He will light a fire and destroy the false idols of your life, and rain down the water of heaven to wash you from depression, and show His power and glory to you and all those around you.
Many of us find that hard to believe. It’s just not natural. Absolutely right. It’s supernatural. That’s the good news of Gospel. If that’s not acceptable either, then there’s really nothing but bad news. Always look for the good news.