When I read through the Old Testament, I am intrigued by the life of Elijah. He is probably one of the greatest prophets ever and had an intimate relationship with God. He predicted the beginning and the end to a three-year drought, allowed God to use him to raise a child from the dead, and defeated the prophets of Baal in a dramatic showdown at Mount Carmel. Interestingly, as incredible a man of God as Elijah was, he experienced suicidal thoughts right after the great victory at Mount Carmel. Jezebel heard of his triumph over the prophets of Baal and vowed to kill him. Elijah fled in fear.
He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life.” – 1 Kings 19:5
I don’t know about you, but I am comforted knowing that one of the greatest men of God suffered from depression. It seems that there is a stigma that attaches itself to all mental health issues today, and, as a result, shame accompanies the person that goes through it. The person struggles in secret for fear that people will judge her for this illness. And yet, a person dealing with cancer or diabetes receives the necessary love and support from friends and family.
Unfortunately, depression seems to be on the rise. I have been hearing almost weekly of a new person struggling with this, especially in the younger generation. People, just like Elijah, seem to have lost their purpose in the midst of these confusing times. Feelings of hopelessness have set in.
“But those whose hope is in the Lord, will not be disappointed” – Isaiah 49:23
If you are someone who struggles with depression, I have encouraging news for you. God delivered Elijah from his depressed state, and He can deliver you too. Elijah later went on to fulfill the purposes that God had planned for the rest of his life. His mental health didn’t define him. Elijah didn’t carry any shame for his depression, and neither should you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11