Focus: Being honest with God
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV) And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
A great example of how easy it is to be tested in the area of depression is found in the story of Elijah the prophet. You can read the whole story of Elijah in the Bible, beginning in 1 Kings, chapter 17. Elijah was an unusual man of God. He did many miracles and is recognized as the major prophet of Israel in the eighth century before Christ. Through Elijah, God spoke to His people, healed the sick, and raised the dead. By Elijah’s words it didn’t rain for three and a half years—which caused a famine. During that time of hardship, God miraculously sent a raven to feed Elijah. One day during the famine, Elijah asked a widow to prepare some food for him. She and her son had only enough oil and flour for one more meal, yet when she obediently prepared a loaf of bread and fed Elijah first—her provisions never ran out. Elijah called down fire from heaven—as proof that his God was more powerful than the Canaanite’s false god, Baal.
You would think someone who operated in that kind of power and authority—would be far above ever being touched by depression. Yet, after his greatest victory of faith—Elijah ran for his life from the wicked Queen Jezebel. He went into a wilderness and crawled under a bush. He told God he had had enough and that he wanted to die.
If you’ve ever felt your struggle with discouragement and depression are a sign of weakness—that could be true. However, the story of Elijah shows us that no one is immune to becoming tired of the fight in this life. Elijah was a great man of God and demonstrated his faith in great boldness over and over. But, a day came when he lost his vision and the will to carry on. Elijah was sick of it all. He was exhausted, hungry, and afraid.
It is especially precious how God responded to Elijah in the wilderness. In his hour of desperation, Elijah poured out his heart and said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” Elijah was feeling as though he was going to die one way or another. He believed he was the only prophet left because of the wickedness of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel.
The Bible tells us the Angel of the Lord touched Elijah and told him to get up and eat. When Elijah looked around, he saw fresh baked bread on hot coals and a jar of water for him to drink. After he ate and drank, Elijah went to sleep. After a while, the Angel woke him and told him to eat. Elijah obeyed and ate again. He received so much strength—he was able to travel for 40 days and nights without anything else to eat or drink. He was led to the mountain of the Lord and it was there that God visited him. The Lord spoke encouragement to Elijah in an intimate whisper letting Elijah know he had not been forgotten and that he was not alone. God told Elijah He was not finished with him and gave him some assignments. One of the things he revealed to Elijah was that he was giving him a young man named Elisha to mentor. Elisha would become Elijah’s replacement as prophet.
Elijah wasn’t threatened by the idea that his predecessor had been chosen. He didn’t go further into depression because now he saw the end of his ministry coming. He found strength and encouragement to move forward—knowing God had trusted him to prepare someone else to carry on His work. Elijah delighted in the fact that he was going to have a partner to work with and that God was giving him the opportunity to finish with dignity rather than defeat.
This story is a beautiful example of how we can approach God with honesty when the battle has become too hard for us. In ‘well doing’—Elijah had become ‘worn out’. When he told God exactly how he felt—God was compassionate. The Lord did practical things to strengthen Elijah and drew him into a place of closer fellowship with Him. He provided Elijah with a successor. Elijah didn’t have a son or a family of his own that we know of. But, God furnished him with an ‘heir’ in Elisha…which gave Elijah the reason he needed to press on.
Never forget the way God loves those who are of a broken and contrite spirit. Keep remembering how His heart is moved toward those who have no power of their own. A person who is ‘empty’—is someone who is capable of being ‘filled’ by the Holy Spirit. Anyone who still has some strength of their own can’t be completely empowered by God to ‘maximum capacity’. So, empty and weak are good—in God’s sight. If you’re at the end of your rope—let go. As you’re free-falling, God will catch you and give you everything you need to finish well.
Declaration: I will find new strength in the precious Word of God. I will learn from the examples written long ago—that God loves me and will always meet my needs. He will make a way for me to finish well—if I am honest with Him.
All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee as of the date they were written and posted. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog. This material will be published as a book in 2013, by the grace of God. To subscribe to New Strength, select ‘follow’ in the upper left corner of this page.
For music selections that will help bring hope and encouragement during your recovery from depression and addiction, browse:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW5unzXXC0