This week’s question: “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19.9).
In 1 Kings 19 Elijah has just experienced a great spiritual victory. But now he’s exhausted, full of self-pity, and depressed. God speaks to him and asks, “What are you doing here?”
Depression is real and Christians, as well as non-Christians, experience times of depression.
While I disagreed with Hawkins assessment of the three types of depression, I do agree with much that he has to say in this chapter. Let me talk first about some of the reasons I disagree.
Hawkins lists the three types of depression as physical, psychological, and spiritual.
There certainly can be physical issues involved in depression: hormonal fluctuation, lack of proper rest, and illnesses that can make us more prone to feelings of depression. But when discussing physical depression, the author refers only to chemical imbalances.
I understand this is a widely held belief and while there may be cases where some chemical issues are involved, most people are not diagnosed using any kind of medical test. Diagnosis is made purely on the basis of symptoms. If you want to learn more about this, you can listen to a free audio series by Pastor Jim Newheiser (part 1, part 2, & part 3) of the Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship.
Even when physical issues are fueling depression, viewing things from a spiritual perspective makes all the difference and our responses can either intensify or lessen those feelings.
As far as psychological issues go, most of what we label psychological is really spiritual in nature. Perhaps I’ll write more about this in a future post, but again, Pastor Newheiser’s series can be helpful.
Back to the book, when discussing the sources of depression, Hawkins uses the story of Elijah after he had defeated the prophets of Baal. He says:
The same man who faced down 850 false prophets and watched fire fall from heaven quickly forgot God’s responsiveness, faithfulness, and power and fled from a wicked woman. And this kind of forgetfulness is a source of spiritual depression. In fact, one of the most dangerous times in the Christian life is right after a great spiritual victory . Elijah acted as if yesterday’s victories would suffice for today’s commitments . He took his eyes off his God and put them on his enemy, Jezebel. When crisis comes and Jezebel knocks on our door, we— like Elijah— are prone to forget God’s power and blessing.
Besides forgetfulness, he lists fear and fatigue as sources of depression. He goes on to talk about the symptoms and the solutions for depression. The solutions include the need to address physical issues like rest and hunger, the need to face your fears, and then to get God’s perspective.
Hawkins ends with this:
None of us is immune to moments, or even bouts, of spiritual depression. When it’s your turn, don’t treat the symptoms; your depression will only get worse. Instead, treat the sources of the depression and rest in the fact that God has the solution. And His solution still comes to us in that “still small voice” spoken to our hearts.
Next week’s question is: “Where did it fall?” (2 Kings 6.6).
You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or here for Kindle.
The question for week one was, “Has God Indeed Said …?”
Week two: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Week three: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
Week four: “Who am I?”
Week five: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?” (Numbers 21.5).
Week six: “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6.13).
Week seven: “Is there still anyone … That I may show him kindness?” (2 Samuel 9.1).
Week eight: “Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight?” (2 Samuel 12.9).
Week nine: “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3.5).
Week ten: “How long will you falter between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18.21).
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