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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Down in the Dumps?

At our mid-week Bible study last night, attendees participated in a spirited discussion about feeling down in the dumps. It seems most Christians get discouraged, and some experience depression. Depression may require significant medical attention, but discouragement usually responds well to an attitude adjustment and a lifestyle adjustment.

Elijah needed both after defeating a host of false prophets in a showdown that would decide who was the true God—Jehovah or Baal. Because he defeated and destroyed the false prophets—Queen Jezebel’s darlings—he became a marked man. Jezebel threatened to end his life within 24 hours. He reacted by running for his life. He left Israel, journeyed south through Judah, and took refuge in the wilderness, where he felt so miserable that he asked God to take away his life.

Had Elijah lost his senses? If he had really wanted to end it all, he could have saved himself an exhausting trip through two countries and into the wilderness. If he had stayed put, Jezebel would have gladly fulfilled his wish. But we don’t usually think sensibly when we feel down in the dumps.

Here’s how God restored Elijah’s drooping spirit. First, He let him rest (1 Kings 19:5). Second, He gave him some food and water (v. 6). Rest and diet are important parts of emotional recovery. Third, God gave Elijah a new revelation of His power and abiding presence (vv. 9–13). No matter how threatening a situation seems, God is in control and near to us. Fourth, God gave Elijah new assignments (vv. 14–17). We may wipe out occasionally as we serve God, but He doesn’t wipe us off His list of servants. Finally, God helped Elijah recognize he was not alone in battle against evil (v.18). Nor are we alone in battling evil. A network of fellow believers is available to support us,

We should never live down in the dumps. They aren’t even a nice place to visit. So let’s abandon discouragement and reach for His encouragement!

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