Focal Passage: 2 Corinthians 1:2-7
Recently the world heard of the death of Robin Williams. One thing that has been revealed is the battle he had with depression. The Psalmist speaks about this valley in Psalm 130:1-8 (HCSB).
We all go through times when we feel sad, down or blue. Solomon spoke of it in Ecclesiastes, and the writer of Hebrews references it in Hebrews 4:16. Depression is a deeper level of emotional turmoil, and has been said to affect one out of five people. This affects the individual, their family, coworkers as well as others who know the person.
Depression can be caused by different factors – stress, fear, loneliness, guilt and anger are to name a few. David spoke of his unconfessed sin as being the basis of his depression in Psalm 38. Elijah on the other hand was depressed following a great spiritual victory (1 Kings 18-19).
Medical factors and abnormalities in the brain’s functioning can attribute to this. Understanding all the possible reasons can give us a better understanding of what this disorder is about and how widespread it is. A person needs to seek medical help when struggling with such disorders. Too often in the church we give the glib “Just give it to Jesus” response without any thought to what may be the underlying cause. Telling a person to snap out of it is not going to help.
From the Bible we find the “HALT” syndrome at Elijah’s lowest point. He was hungry – he had stopped eating; angry – actually with God, feeling He was not caring for him; lonely – he left his servant and went out all by himself; and tired – we see him collapse into a deep sleep.
We see that God counteracted every one of these characteristics in Elijah’s life. He fed him. He sent an angel to show him he was not alone. The sleep helped to remedy the need for rest. This reminds us of having a real and personal relationship with God. We need to read the Bible and pray every day. Because of his relationship, Elijah could focus upon God and listen to what He had to say. Elijah recognized God’s voice and was able to return in a renewed and strengthened personhood.