“Then (Elijah) said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.'” – I Kings 19: 14
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 same areas, what can we learn from the life of Elijah?
Fear comes when we lose sight of God. Elijah became fearful when he shifted his focus from God to Queen Jezebel’s threats. The same is true for us.
- Life Lesson: 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 crept in after God’s miraculous answer to prayer in his showdown against false prophets that ended a 3.5-year drought. In spite of all Elijah witnessed, he was completely exhausted: emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
- Life Lesson: 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.
- Life Lesson: Unresolved anger can lead to deep depression if we aren’t careful.
Hope that is 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, depression, or self-pity, you’re not alone. Be honest with God in your prayers and seek out a trusted friend and/or professional for support. Learn from Elijah’s story and remember that there is hope, healing, and victory in the powerful name of Jesus Christ.