Another Monday morning.
Where did the weekend go, and I even had Friday off!
Do you ever find yourself wondering if what you do even matters? I mean seriously, in the big picture of life, does my job matter? Do I matter? If all life means is living, earning, and dying, whatâ€™s the point. Itâ€™s enough to depress a person (and youâ€™re doing a good job of it Bro Dave).
If youâ€™ve ever felt this way it means…wait for it…you are a human being. It is actually natural to feel depressed; some things are meant to depress such as death. Oswald Chambers rightly states that if there was no depression â€œthere would be no capacity for exaltation.â€
Sometimes reading the Bible can make me depressed in that I donâ€™t believe I meet the standard of God in my life; I too often fail at this. Other times I feel as though Iâ€™m doing kingdom work and it isnâ€™t making a difference. If youâ€™ve felt that way before, take solace in knowing that one of the greatest men of the Bible experienced depression. Meet again Elijah the Prophet:
â€œAnd Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, â€˜So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.â€™ And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a dayâ€™s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, â€˜It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!â€™â€ (1 Kings 19:1-4)
If you had never met Elijah before you would think him an ordinary man of ordinary circumstances. However, if you recall, or better yet, read the preceding chapter 18 of 1 Kings, Elijah has just experienced one of the most amazing victories for God recorded in the Bible. Remember him calling down fire on Mount Carmel? You really need to read chapter 18 again to fully appreciate what is happening in chapter 19.
So of course God, seeing His pathetic prophet decided Elijah had done enough and miraculously took him to Heaven. You realize Elijah never died, right? Thatâ€™s true, but it doesnâ€™t happen here. Notice what God does:
â€œThen as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, â€˜Arise and eat.â€™ Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came back the second time, and touched him, and said, â€˜Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.â€™ So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God. And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, â€˜What are you doing here, Elijah?â€™ So he said, â€˜I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.â€™â€ (1 Kings 19:5-10)
Understand that this angel was no ordinary angel, this is the pre-incarnate Christ. Jesus made Elijahâ€™s bread (I for one think it was angel food cake, my favorite)! Here is Elijah being fed by Jesus and he is still feeling sorry for himself. So Jesus has him go to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God, to have a talk with the Heavenly Father. Wouldnâ€™t you think if you had been fed by Jesus and instructed to go to the mountain of God, you might be expecting God to show up? Of course, with hindsight we can, but in the midst of depression, or even a pity party for that matter, itâ€™s hard to see God.
So of course God has Elijah enter into an extensive Bible study on depression and the greatness of God and Elijah overcomes his depression. No! Godâ€™s remedy for Elijahâ€™s depression began by making him get up and eat. You must understand if our emotional and spiritual needs are going to be met our physical needs must first be met. Hereâ€™s what Chambers writes about this passage, and specifically depression, in â€œMy Utmost For His Highestâ€:
â€œWhen the Spirit of God comes He does not give us visions, He tells us to do the most ordinary things conceivable. Depression is apt to turn us away from the ordinary commonplace things of God’s creation, but whenever God comes, the inspiration is to do the most natural simple thing – the things we would never have imagined God was in, and as we do them we find He is there. The inspiration which comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression; we have to do the next thing and do it in the inspiration of God. If we do a thing in order to overcome depression, we deepen the depression; but if the Spirit of God makes us feel intuitively that we must do the thing, and we do it, the depression is gone. Immediately we arise and obey, we enter on a higher plane of life.â€
I have a confession to make; I didnâ€™t want to but God is making me and I wouldnâ€™t be as transparent as I imagine myself if I didnâ€™t share this with all of you. This devotional is inspired by my own personal pity party Iâ€™ve been having the last couple of days. You see, I havenâ€™t written a devotional in two weeks, and no one has noticed, at least not enough to inquire why I had stopped writing. I do not write this to make anyone feel bad; I donâ€™t want you to. God did this to remind me of how this all started. It is me sharing His conversations with me and Him telling me to let all of you eavesdrop on them.
Last night before I went to bed I knew God wanted me to begin writing again. I imagined myself beginning this devotional in some snarky way as, â€œHey Iâ€™m writing again, not that you noticed I had stoppedâ€, but Iâ€™ve been walking with the Lord long enough to know that was straight from my flesh.
So as I shut out the light and lay my head on my pillow, I prayed that the Lord would show me a lesson in this. What does your Word say about this Father? Of course I wasnâ€™t depressed because of this; thereâ€™s a huge difference between a pity party and depression. But I wanted to begin writing again and I wanted to somehow put Biblical meaning to what I had been feeling.
And I awoke this morning with Elijah under the broom tree in my mind.
So I wrote.
I did one of the most ordinary things conceivable for me.
I pray I am entering on a higher plane of life.
Want to join me?
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Copyright Â© 2011 David Jeffers