In the early l960s when a Christian had a depression that ended in Job’s sort of thinking and candid admission, you never announced so in public. The 1st book I read on this subject, covering emotional chaos and psychological sickness among Christians, was considered heresy by the majority of my evangelical pals. The pervasive opinion then was simple : Christians failed to have breakdowns.
Additionally , you definitely didn’t say “depressed.
Shame on shame that you did not trust the Lord thru your struggle and find Him trustworthy to help “get over” your depression.
I remember being told by a seminary prof, who talked to us about assisting families with funerals, that if you probably did funerals for people that had committed suicide and the deceased was a Christian, we were never to say that fact. Candidly , it did not sound right then, and it does not sound right today. And I did not know enough to know that Job three was in the book back then. Had I known, I might have announced, “Hey, what about Job?”. I need to write to you who are reading these lines who might be in the pit, trying to find your way back. It’s possible that things have got so dark you need a competent Christian psychologist ( or psychiatrist ) to help find your way. The most intellectual thing you can do is find one and go. Ensure that the advisor truly does know the Lord Jesus and is really competent, able to supply the direction you want so you can work your way thru your maze of distress.
And, I might add, “God bless you for each hour you spend finding your way out of the hole that you’ve been in.
Part of the solution is to chase the advantages of solitude and silence found in periods of obscurity. For the 1st time in 7 years, I took 6 weeks off one summer. I targeted on slowing down and refilling my soul with the deep things of the Lord. I prayed, I sang, I studied, I walked, I fished, I stayed quiet, and I sat pondering and reevaluating my life. You may not have that much time available. You’ll have only a few days, or maybe 2 weeks.
If you are not careful, you can quickly fill those days with things to do, places to go, and folk to see. Resist that enticement to crowd out the Lord. What an ideal chance to carve out time to be alone, just you, the family, and the Lord. I do not want you to miss any of these words. Rather than speeding up, let’s discover ways to slow down and rethink. Taking time to discover what truly matters is crucial if we are going to lift the curse of superficiality that shadows our lives. Don’t wait for the doctor to tell you that you have 6 months to live. Long before anything that sad becomes a fact, you should be growing roots deep into the soil of those things that really matter. No “Six Fast Steps to Success” or other self-help scrolls clumped under his arms.
He came back to what he had experienced on the path to Damascus. He considered each new dawn a present from the Lord, the ideal chance to redo his concerns and rethink his motives.
But time expended in solitude prepares us for the unavoidable challenges that come at us from the chipped age in which we live.
If Job’s story were made into a film and your folks had hired it for tonight, when you came to this part of the tale you’d fast-forward ; you would not desire your kids to observe. We do not wish to think a person as great as Job in chapters one and two is the same man you meet in chapter three.
Why? In part because we have this skewed idea that anyone who walks this closely with the Lord God lives contentedly forever. Of course, “God loves you and has a superb plan for your life.” Right? If you did not know better, you might think you could sprout wings before your conversion is a week old and begin to soar thru life. We want to understand that God’s “wonderful plan” is excellent from his point of view, not yours and mine.
But God’s glorious plan isn’t like that. Job brings us back to raw reality—God’s sort of fact. Remember his query, the one he asked his wife? “Shall we accept good from God and not accept adversity?” And remember that closing line? “In all this Job didn’t sin with his lips” ( Job 2:10 ).
The same man shortly steps into a completely new frame of reference. We do not need our hero to think or talk as he does here. He does not appear as if he is a person of God any more. He even has the audacity to point out at the end, “I am not at ease. I am in turmoil.” What has happened? We are given entrance into a troubled side of Job’s life that’s as real as any of our lives today, but the difference is, Job lets it all out. Fortunately, he reminds us that even the godly can be depressed. Ever been seriously depressed? God is still there.
God met his servant Elijah in his desperate moment of discouragement and despair. This is mercy at its best, superbly portrayed by the Master Himself.
First, God permitted Elijah a time of rest and refreshment.
No lightning bolt from heaven, asserting, “Look at you. You have not had a good meal in a long time.” Then He catered a meal of freshly baked bread and cool, refreshing water. That must have brought back sweet memories of those straightforward days by the brook at Cherith.
Fatigue can cause all kinds of unusual imaginations. Elijah was believing a lie, mainly because he was pooped. So God gave him rest and refreshment, and afterward Elijah went on for forty days and nights in the power of it. God’s presence wasn’t in wind or tremor or fire. Those sweet zephyrs were like windswept, invisible magnets, drawing Elijah out of the cavern.
Do you see what God did? He drew Elijah out of the cavern of self-pity and depression. And once Elijah was out of that cavern, God asked him again, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”. God showed Elijah that he had a job to do—that there had been still a place for him. Disillusioned and exhausted though he was, he was still God’s man and God’s choice for “such a time as this” ( Esther 4:14 ). And as far as this I’m-all-alone stuff went, “Elijah, let Me set the record straight,” declared God.
“There are 7 thousand unswerving out there who have not bowed to Baal. At any given moment, with the snap of My divine fingers, I can bring to the forefront an entire fresh corps of My troops.” What comfort that brought.
Why did Elijah fear Jezebel’s threatening threats? Why did he run away from his longstanding emphasis of serving God and hide in fear under the shade of that solitary tree, deep in the wilderness? He was so shortsighted that he did not consider the source of this threat. The threat had not come from God ; it had come from an unbelieving, carnal homo sapien who lived her godless life light-years from God.
If Elijah had been thinking clearly and realistically, he’d have realized this. 3rd , Elijah was caught in the backwash of a great victory. That is when we want to set up a shield against the enemy.
He used to be a wanted, hunted man, considered by the king to be Public Enemy Number One. There’s little doubt that Elijah had come to the end of his rope physically and, for sure, emotionally—all of which could not help but weaken him spiritually. I’m not sure if Elijah was offended, but I’ll tell you he was tired. You can hear it in his tired words : “It is sufficient ; now, O LORD, take my life, for I’m not better than my fathers.”. It’ll cultivate a victim mind-set in your head. And in the worst-case eventuality, it can bring you to the point of wanting to die, which is precisely where Elijah was. We open the door for that pathetic liar, self-pity, when we build an impractical standard and then can’t measure up to it. Self-pity mauls its way within our minds like a beast and claws us to shreds.