I had a rude awakening sometimes last month on believers and depression. I know it may sound a bit hard for Christians to come out and acclaim that they are going through depressing situations, because scripturally speaking, the joy of the Lord is our strength.
For someone who likes to have a plan of what my future would look like, this year has provoked whirlwind of events, I never could have predicted. Coupled together with loss and grief and helplessness, the feeling of having to do something worthwhile but lacking opportunity, at the same time having to postpone whatsoever plans I had made.
Anxiety would always find its way into my heart slowly like a thief in the night, stealing joy, and carting away with the little strength I have. News after news that I saw on the internet, breaks my heart into tiny pieces. Tears gathering in my eyes, reluctant to fall down my cheeks.
I spent days moping around the house, fighting negative thoughts in my spirit. Every single time, I kept asking myself if that is what I should do as a believer. I believe Jesus would have stood up even when the storms raged and declared peace, He would have recited scriptures upon scripture, taking hold of every thought, taking them captive and bringing them to His Obedience.
I willed my heart to believe that I have the Authority, the same one that Jesus had to take my thoughts captive, to speak joy into my every depressing situation. I wanted to believe that that was what Jesus would have expected from me. But somehow, my heart didn’t just get the memo.
Today, I bring you a narrative from the Bible, someone who had walked in my shoes and maybe yours.
One of the major prophets in the Bible who did awesome, jaw-dropping works and wonders in Israel. One who had stood right with God that he didn’t see death. This man looked at mighty kings eyeball to eyeball and spoke of God’s punishment on their reign. He slaughtered 450 prophets of the idol, Baal, without hesitation. Raised the dead, spoke to God directly. He was a man of Faith and a powerful man in the Bible.
One day, after declaring war on the family of King Ahab, he could feel his strength slipping through his hands. After hearing the threat of the Queen, he lost it! He ran far away from the City and went to a thick bush to hide.
‘Common Elijah, you just finished clearing up 450 men, you have just called out fire from heaven to burn up a sacrifice that’s literally dripping with water, a threat is so small for you’ We would have thought, at this point.
But He was done with it! He was tired! Broken! Exhausted!
“God, can this just be over and done with?! Can you just take my life?! Let me join my ancestors, none of them even did what I did, and they are resting well!” Elijah cried out.
Of course, some of us have been there, done that. Questioned the reason for our existence. Was so tired of living that the idea of not living looked pleasant to us.
Tired of complaining, Elijah fell asleep. God looked from heaven with compassion in his eyes as he sent angels to come to be of help to him. God definitely knows the magic food does to man’s heart because he sent the angels with food and water to nourish him.
‘Get up Elijah, go on a journey, stay there till I pass by’ God commanded.
“God, show me your face! I want to see you! I want to hear your soothing words” I would cry at that time in my life.
Elijah went on this journey and came to Horeb, stood on the mountain and waited for God.
Truly a hurricane wind passed through the mountain, shattered rocks and guess what? God was not in the hurricane.
In my quest to finding peace, I might have expected an intense, heavenly invasion. Like the host of heaven would just arrive at my place that day and fill me with so much joy, happiness and strength. But none of that happened.
Elijah waited again, and this time, it was an Earthquake. Oh! God must be one to show up in a grand style. But, that wasn’t God.
Since I didn’t get an invasion, I might have waited for a groundbreaking, earth-shattering encounter. In my head, I imagined having such a powerful encounter that even my neighbours would tell the tales. But there was nothing!
Just my tears and my weary soul.
After the Earthquake at Mount Horeb, came the fire. Yess! The consuming fire is here. God is here! But He wasn’t present either.
Oh, since I didn’t experience an invasion and an encounter, maybe God will show up in a revival. Maybe if I pray for more fire in my bones, I would find peace. I thought.
At this point, Elijah must be tired because I was.
‘God, are you playing games with me? I just want Peace of mind. I just want the reassurance of your promises. I just want you to tell me what to do with my life, in this period of uncertainty’ I cried out again.
And then came the quiet whisper. On the mountains of Horeb and in my heart.
God is speaking! God showed up! And then in the whisper, God brought the solution. For Prophet Elijah, it was a person, someone who will follow after his footsteps all the while supporting him while he was still alive. To me, it was this peace that surpasses human understanding that I felt, knowing that no matter what happens, God will always have my back.
Oh to you it might be a person too, or an encounter, an answer to prayer, or an idea.
You see, as believers, it’s okay to experience depression, to be anxious. It’s okay to throw the towel in and bawl our eyes out.
What is not okay is to remain in the storm. What is not okay is to turn your back against God. What is not okay is to assume that God would never help you or is incapable of helping you, because He is always willing to help.
Maybe God is waiting for you to take a pause, to breathe, to rest. To stop worrying about a future he already predestined for greatness. To forget about a past He already revoked.
Maybe He is asking you to just listen to His calm voice like the soothing sound of an ocean after a stormy night. He’s waiting for you to be still and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He’s GOD.
I end with this scripture.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:2 NIV
The Bible didn’t record that we wouldn’t pass through stormy waters. It didn’t say they there wouldn’t come a day when our faith isn’t tested by fire (read as trials) It didn’t say that we wouldn’t pass through oceans that we think might drown us.
What He said is that, we will not be consumed. Read that again.
The flames, the trials, the tears, the pains might come, but remember, we will not be consumed.
Maybe you don’t see it now, maybe it’s hard for you to feel God in your situation now, remember that He’s working. Always working. And He will never stop working.
I love you all forever.❤❤
Recommended Bible Text: 1 Kings 19