“But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, ‘Arise and eat.’ Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water." - 1 Kings 19:4-6
Depression is a huge problem. The CDC tells us that suicide is now the leading cause of death among teenagers. It has far surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death among them. That is a depressing fact.
An article in The Wall Street Journal entitled, “Why She Drinks,” told of the tremendous increase of alcohol abuse among women in American over the last 10 to 15 years.* “Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety as men, and are far more likely to medicate those conditions with alcohol.” Obviously, depression is a huge issue that many are struggling with, both young and old.
If you are currently struggling with depression or have family or friends that are struggling with these symptoms, the life of Elijah may help. This great man of faith was truly a man like us. After a spiritual mountaintop high, he was overcome with fear and depression.
Elijah, the prophet, was a mighty spiritual warrior. He had shown great courage in the midst of huge opposition. God endowed him with supernatural power to be victorious over false prophets of his day. Yet he knew his enemies were out to get him, so he ran. He was scared and overcome with depression to the point that he begged God to kill him.
One reason he sank so low was that he was emotionally and spiritually exhausted. But it was more. His exhaustion led him to face a different kind of spiritual warfare. He felt so hopeless that life no longer made sense. He told God he wanted to die, then lay down under a tree and went to sleep.
This is what Scripture says, “And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cakebaked on hot stones, and a jar of water.” Don’t you just love the way God ministers to this man? With great gentleness, He allowed Elijah to sleep and then woke him up and fed him. And Elijah rested some more. Then God ministered to him in a still quiet voice and gave him a new mission.
If you are going through depression, remember that when man loses hope, he begins to hope for death. But God understands our depression. Sometimes He knows we simply need rest and refreshment. Sometimes He knows we need a new direction. Yet most of all remember that God is with you. He loves you, regardless of how you feel. He is always with us and cares for our needs. God is mighty and powerful. He is also tender and loving.
If you feel depressed and don’t have the will to go on, look up. Talk to your Creator, the God of the universe. Tell Him everything – all of your fears, your anger, and why you want to give up. Not only will He understand, He can restore you and over time give you a way to get through it. It begins with trusting Him day by day. Remember, He doesn’t give us strength for tomorrow, today. He gives us strength for tomorrow, tomorrow! Don’t quit! Take things one day at a time.
Jesus said, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
*Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2013 by Gabrielle Glaser