“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” Matthew 5:3 (MSG)
Is there anything you’re going through that you feel you won’t get through? Storms in life can do that. Bad news can knock you to your knees. Hurts and grief that never seem to heal. Past pain robs us from any present joy. It could be the loss of a loved one, a habit that is controlling you, or a financial setback that you don’t think you’ll ever recover from. You may never get over it, but God wants you to know that you will get through it. As a Christ follower you are an eternal being, but your pain is temporary. Although there are some losses in life we will never get over this side of heaven, we can get through them with God’s power. Elijah is an example of how we can find God’s strength for our greatest struggles.
Elijah struggled with anxiety and depression. He was a mighty prophet of God, but he was also just a man subject to the same issues you and I face as well. James 5:17 tells us, “Elijah was a man with a nature just like our own….” I love that description because it brings these spiritual giants down to our size. It demonstrates the integrity of Scripture. The Bible doesn’t hide the humanness of God’s servants so we can identify with them. Like us, Elijah was an ordinary man. Too often we tend to think God only uses super stars. But just scan the characters in the Bible that God used for a moment:
- Gideon was insecure
- Peter denied Christ
- David committed adultery and murder
- Jacob was a cheat and schemer
- Samuel was too young
- Sarah was too old
- Lazarus was too dead!
What’s your excuse for why God can’t use you? God has a remarkable way of choosing a nobody to be somebody without consulting anybody! Elijah was chosen to be God’s prophet of fury. He called fire down from heaven and raised the dead, but he suffered from depression. He could work a mighty miracle one minute and threaten suicide the next. His ministry and life seemed bipolar. His faith turned to fear and discouragement as his courage melted. This man who stood alone, mighty in spirit against an idol worshipping nation and 850 false prophets of Baal, ran in fear from a woman named Jezebel. He experienced the black hole of depression. Tired, worn out and exhausted, Elijah withdrew and hid himself in a cave. What caused his depression? Depression is multifaceted. It could be a combination of circumstances, mental or physical health and spiritual attack. Depression isn’t a sin. You can make sinful choices when you’re depressed but feeling depressed is not a sin.
Elijah was physically exhausted and on the other side of one of his greatest victories. How often our greatest victories are followed by defeat. It’s when the enemy comes in like a flood to discourage us. Elijah was discouraged when he surveyed the landscape of Israel and couldn’t see any future for the nation. He thought he was the only one left who served God. And even though he asked God to kill him, he didn’t really want to die. If he had wanted to die, he could have just hung around, Jezebel would have accommodated him! Afterall, he was on her most wanted list to die!
This week we are going to exam Elijah’s story because it is our story as well. Through his story we will find God’s strength in our greatest struggle and with God’s help, we will get through whatever we are facing that seems so impossible to get through. I love the way The Message paraphrases the words of Christ in Matthew 5:3. It gives me comfort and hope.
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.”
If you’re at the end of your rope, you’re in a good place. Join me this week as we uncover how God brought Elijah through his most discouraging time. I believe you’ll find hope and counsel from his experience, just as I have, that will get you through whatever you’re facing.