Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Depression is a major problem for many. Experts tell us that one out of every four women will suffer from clinical depression at some point and one out of every ten men. Researchers attribute that difference in numbers to the fact that men are less likely to admit their problems and less likely to seek help. Depression is spread across all segments of society. No one is exempt. It's not a matter of I.Q., age, or social class. Some of the greatest people in history have struggled with feelings of depression. “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful soul on earth. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die to be better.” Those are the words of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.

Philip Keller writes “Most of us have our ‘desert days’ of despair. There are times when we forget the faithfulness of our Lord. God seems to become remote and far removed from our struggles. Life seems a relentless, remorseless erosion of our stamina and strength in the struggle to carry on. There seems so much more pain than pleasure in the pattern of our days. Forgetting the unremitting faithfulness of God to us in the past, we focus only on the futility and frustrations of the present. We can see no hope or cheering prospect for the future.”

What can you do to restore hope and joy when you’re discouraged?


Heb. 12:5-6, 10-11 (NLT) Have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves,”… But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Sometimes God allows the discouragement in order to “block our pride”, to keep us from becoming arrogant and self-centered, instead of trusting Him.


When Elijah was running for his life from Queen Jezebel, he was afraid, depressed, and exhausted. God gave Elijah time to rest and receive refreshment. This is really basic, but it seems that we find it difficult to do. To overcome stress we need to rest our bodies. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to not take on another project but instead rest. God did not even begin to deal with Elijah’s depression or wrong thinking until he was rested and refreshed.


God confronted Elijah with truth. Elijah went into the mountains and hid a cave. And there God began to deal him. God asked Elijah a question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” It was not that the Lord didn’t know. This question was not for God’s benefit, but for Elijah’s. Elijah responded by saying, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty.” But Elijah completely missed the point. God was not asking him what he had DONE. He was asking him what he was DOING. There comes a time when you must get up and get back to what God has given you to do.


God tells Elijah He’s going to pass by, so he stood in the mouth of the cave and looked for signs of the Lord’s passing. First, there came a hurricane force wind so powerful that it splintered rocks. As soon as the wind died down, a mighty earthquake shook the mountain with its force. No sooner had the dust settled from the earthquake than a firestorm descended out of the blue sky consuming everything in its path. In each of this powerful events Elijah had looked for signs that the Lord was in them, yet He was in none of them. And then Elijah heard a gentle whisper – a whisper from God. Sometimes in the busyness of life with its stress and burdens and pressures we lose our focus. What we desperately need is to refocus on God. God tells us in Psa. 46:10 (NLT) “Be still, and know that I am God.” We can learn as Elijah did to look for God in the small things He does. If we pay attention we will begin to see God in our everyday life, in a phone call of encouragement, or an unexpected kindness, or an email, or an answered prayer.

• God always speaks loud enough for those who are willing to hear.


In 1 Kings 19:15, The Lord said to Elijah, “Go back the way you came,” God was saying, “OK, time is up. It’s time to get back to the work I have called you to.” When we turn our attention away from ourselves to serving others, our problems and difficulties will seem less overwhelming. If you want to reduce your stress and increase your fulfillment find someone you can pour your life into.

We need to realize that a lot of times we’re not in a position to estimate our own effectiveness. When you think you’ve won, don’t be so sure. When you think you’ve failed, don’t count God out. Let Him have the last word. It’s not a sin to be discouraged. It’s not a sin to be depressed. It’s what you do when you are discouraged, depressed, and feeling hopeless that matters. Don’t fight the battle alone. Get help. And remember; God is still there.

• There is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still.

1 comment:

  1. This is a powerful message for me as I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression in 1971 then bipolar disorder in 1986. As I look back over the years of living with life threatening depression I can now see that I was trying to face my fears by hiding. My thoughts were focused on obeying a society that encouraged people like me to be hidden away. My spiritual oneness with God had been broken and with no understanding of the importance of instilling His word into my mind and heart I was easily guided into "doing" what others wanted or expected of me. I've come to realize as I grow in Christ that the depression that comes from a disconnection from Christ can be as deadly as clinical depression. I think that most people with depression would agree that it feels like a bottomless pit of hopelessness so paralyzing that the human mind can no longer feel or think. For today I pray, Lord, forgive my weakness teach me to lean on your love, strength and understanding. Help me to know that when I feel myself falling that I have nothing to fear because you will catch me. Slow my racing thoughts so that I can hear your softest whisper. Remove my pride so that I will not block your grace, power and love for me. I pray that you will shine your light so brightly that every hiding place will be revealed so that when I feel like running I will run straight into your arms. Thank you God for your your sacrifice of Jesus Christ so that I could live eternally in your presence. I give you all the praise and glory for leading me to Clay Community Church...for a Pastor who loves, lives and breathes your word. May today's blessing use me as a vessel to serve others through you. All this I ask in your precious son's name Jesus Christ, Amen.