Are we being upfront and honest about depression in Christian circles? Can the godly suffer from depression or is it only something that afflicts the weak in faith? For many believers the idea of Christian depression is an oxymoron that negates some of the foundational elements of the Christian faith, such as the call to rest in the love of God or rejoice in His grace. In Christian circles depression often carries a double stigma, one of emotional instability and spiritual decline. As a result, Christians struggling with depression often fear reaching out for help, while for those in full-time ministry it is simply unthinkable. Alone in their struggle, they chide themselves for their perceived unbelief, only to fall deeper into despair. This erodes the effectual working of the body of Christ, intended to serve to the edification of one another in love.
Under the Broom Tree
I have been a bit under the weather this week and have asked Pastor Dave to fill the pulpit this Sunday. For anyone crushed in spirit, there is hope to be found in this story. I would venture to say every one of us will encounter a friend or loved one, if not ourselves, who at one time or another will find themselves under the broom tree. We read that Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. Now this is quite surprising when we recall what had happened just prior to this event. Elijah had just confronted King Ahab and asked him to assemble the nation of Israel along with prophets of the Canaanite god Baal and prophets of the goddess Asherah on Mount Carmel 1 Kings The prophets of Baal had called and called from morning to evening, but to no avail, even after hours of ritual bloodletting and prophesying. Then Elijah called the people to himself. Then he dug that trench around the altar and called for as much water as could be found after a 3 year drought.
Even the greatest heroes of the Bible get discouraged, make mistakes, and are insecure. The greatest prophet of the Old Testament was Elijah. In the story about Elijah in 1 Kings 19, Elijah was running for his life from a very angry Queen Jezebel. Horeb where he looks for God in a storm, an earthquake, and a fire, but finds God in the quiet stillness.
And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said to him, Arise and eat. Genesis And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep…. Daniel And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be. Daniel Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. New International Version Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat. Christian Standard Bible Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree.