We tend to have our own idea of what God should do. “This is the perfect time for you to show your power, God.” “Why don’t you stop the injustice?” If God does not meet our expectations, we feel disappointed. It turns out God’s top prophet, Elijah, had a similar experience in 1 Kings 19:1-18.
Ahab, Israel’s king, had made Baal to be Israel’s god. Elijah, before the Israelites, challenged the 450 Baal prophets. Through a spectacular miracle, he got all of them killed.
The over-confident Elijah ran to Jezreel, the capital of Israel, perhaps expecting Ahab and the Israelites to repent and return to God. Instead, Ahab’s wife threatened to kill him within a day.
Elijah ran for his life. He even let his servant go, implying quitting his ministry (v3). Totally demoralized, he asked God to let him die (v4).
How did God treat Elijah’s depression?
Twice, an angel touched him, fed him, and let him sleep (v5, 7). Strengthened by the food, Elijah travelled for 40 days to Horeb (or Mount Sinai), where Moses had been given the ten commandments.
God asked him what he was doing there (v9). Elijah responded that he was the only one zealous for Him, basically asking, “What’s wrong with you, God? Why didn’t you show your power and do what I think you should?” (v10).
Elijah assumed God would do certain things in Israel. When God didn’t follow through, Elijah became overly pessimistic: “I am the only one [prophet] left” (v10). Elijah tried to put God in his box, and when God was not there, Elijah grew cynical and depressed.
As described above, God treated Elijah with comfort, sustenance, sleep, and time. He also just allowed Elijah to talk without condemning him. Then God responded.
First, God showed a glimpse of His strength through powerful wind tearing mountains apart, earthquake, and fire. Then God gently talked to Elijah, telling Elijah His plan. God counseled and healed Elijah with gentle words.
God’s ways are beyond us. Don’t try to put God in our box. Instead, have faith in the almighty and brilliant God, and listen to His words. God will do the right thing at the right time.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon:
我们有我们的想法应为上帝应该做什么。“神啊，这是最佳时机显示你的力量”。 “你为何不停止冤屈？” 如果上帝不听从我们的要求，我们就会感到非常失望。上帝的最高先知以利亚在列王记上 19章1至18节中也有类似的经历。
上帝问他在那里做什么（第9节）。以利亚回答说，只有他对上帝非常热心。 他基本上是在问神：“上帝，你为何不显示你的大能, 做点我想你做的事?”（第10节）
If we are depressed and cannot feel God’s presence, even when we don’t think we have done anything wrong, what should we do? Let’s learn from Psalms 42 and 43.
The author was very depressed. He felt God had forgotten him (v42:9). He didn’t think he had sinned, but he had lost his relationship with God and he was experiencing spiritual darkness.
What could have caused it?
First, he had lost his community. Previously, he was with a joyful, religious crowd, but now he was isolated in the mountains (v42:4,6). It is easier to feel depressed if we don’t have others’ support.
Second, bad things were happening to him, leading people to ask him all day long where his God was (v42:3). Gradually, he also asked God the same question (v42:9).
Third, he had lost his appetite (with tears as his food) and lost his sleep (crying all night) (v42:3).
Such setback, failure, and physical weakness, with no support, particularly when he didn’t know the cause, could have led to his depression.
How did the author get back up again?
Though the author felt down and out, he didn’t stop praying. Instead, he desperately searched for God, pouring himself out to Him (v42:1, 4). He also reminded himself to consider the love of God in his life (v42:6, 8).
Furthermore, he kept preaching to himself. Three times he questioned himself why he was so miserable. Three times, he told himself to put his hope in God (implying not in worldly things). And three times he said he would praise God, his Savior (v42:5, 11; 43:5, 3:3).
If we are depressed for a long period, we should take care of our health and find support from others. But it is much more important to keep praying to God, remembering His love as shown by Christ suffering for us. Also, we should keep asking ourselves why we are sad and remind ourselves to put our hope in God, praising Him as our Savior.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon:
作者感到很沮丧, 觉得上帝已经忘记了他。 V42：9。他不认为自己犯了罪，因为至少他没有表达任何内疚。但是他已经失去了与上帝的关系, 经历心灵上的黑暗。
其次，坏事正在发生在他身上，导致人们整天都在问他上帝在哪里。 V42：3。渐渐地，他也问上帝同样的问题。 V42：9。
第三, 他食欲不振（以眼泪为食物）及失眠（整夜哭泣）. V42：3。
此外，他一直在向自己讲道。他三次问自己为什么如此沮丧。他三次告诉自己要将希望寄托在上帝身上（而不是在世俗的事物上）. 然后三次他期望他会赞美上帝, 他的救主。 V42：5,11; 43：5。诗篇3：3.
如果我们长期处于抑郁状态，要照顾好自己的身体并寻求他人的支持。但是，更重要的是不断向上帝祈祷，记住祂的爱, 记住基督为我们受苦。此外，不断问自己为什么感到难过，并告诉自己要将希望寄托在上帝身上，并不断期望会赞美我们的上帝, 我们的救主。