The prophet Elijah’s life tells a powerful story. It’s full of boldness, faith and miraculously answered prayers. Still, Elijah struggled with fear, depression and self-pity – things many of us battle today. You can read his full story in 1 Kings chapters 17 and 18. For those of us struggling in these areas, what can we learn from the life of Elijah?
- Fear comes when we lose sight of God. Elijah became fearful by shifting his focus from God to wicked Queen Jezebel’s threats. The same is true for us. When we focus more on the problem than on God, fear replaces faith.
- Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes life’s “blues” settle-in after a spiritual high point or some great excitement in life. In Elijah’s case, these feelings arrived after God’s miraculous answer to prayer in his showdown with false prophets and in ending a 3.5-year drought. In spite of all Elijah witnessed, he was completely exhausted: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Don’t let yourself be caught off guard by these normal ups and downs of life.
- Unresolved anger leads to self-pity and depression. In verse 14, Elijah let out some brutally honest complaints to God. He let his self-righteousness and self-pity take control of his life. Unresolved anger can lead to deep depression if we aren’t careful.
- Hope lost is deadly. When Elijah lost hope, he began to hope for death. It’s no secret that suicidal thoughts can accompany severe depression. Losing the will to live has been a struggle battled by some of the greatest men of faith: Moses when leading the Israelites out of Egypt, Job after losing literally everything, and the prophet Jeremiah when preaching to an uninterested people – just to name a few.
If you are struggling with fear, hopelessness or depression, you’re not alone. Be honest with God in your prayers, seek out a trusted friend or professional for support, and learn from Elijah’s story. Confess your self-pity to God. Don’t let unresolved anger keep you down.