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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Restored Faith

The prophet Elijah tumbled. He had shown tremendous faith by confronting and triumphing over 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, but his faith deflated faster than a punctured balloon when Queen Jezebel threatened his life. He fled far into the desert, where he asked God to end his life. To put it plainly, Elijah was depressed.

Some forms of depression have medical causes and require medical attention, but others, like Elijah’s, result from a lapse of faith, worry, weariness, and a sense of overwhelming guilt. Elijah’s faith went poof when Jezebel said “Boo!” He worried and ran for his life. Exhausted, he plopped down under a broom tree and asked God to take his life.

So how did God restore Elijah’s spiritual and emotional well-being?

First, He let Elijah rest (1 Kings 19:5a). A pastor used to say, “Christians on their way to heaven should be in bed by eleven.” If we fail to get adequate rest, we may succumb to depression.

Second, God fed Elijah and provided a jar of water too (vv. 5b, 6). Proper sleep and nourishment often help us move out of “the dumps.”

Third, God gave Elijah a new revelation of His presence. He showed Elijah He was with him in the stillness as well as in life’s exciting times. He was present in the desert just as He had been on Mount Carmel (see vv. 12, 13).

Finally, God gave Elijah new assignments. He commissioned him to anoint a successor and two kings (vv. 15, 16). God doesn’t write us off when we write ourselves off. He has specific assignments for each of us. A sense of mission rejuvenates us.