“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.”
Psalm 42:11 (ESV)
It’s not easy for me to admit it, but as I mentioned in my last post – I’ve been a bit depressed, lately. Maybe even more than “a bit”. I’ve even had moments of feeling hopeless and defeated – and several days last week I fell asleep and woke up in tears.
It doesn’t matter why. If I compare my heartaches and pains with others, I am quite aware that I have nothing to complain about.
I don’t normally have a melancholic personality and I was embarrassed at my fragile and brittle emotions. It was humbling. Afterall, had I not risen above the journey of painful knees to gallbladder polyps to a possible heart attack and finally surgery? Why was I letting my present circumstances defeat me?
In my quest for answers, God led me to I Kings and the story of Elijah and his confrontation with the prophets of Baal. Don’t misunderstand me. I am NOT comparing myself with Elijah, but the Holy Spirit continued to nudge me to dig deeper into those passages, which led me on a search for commentaries by pastors and teachers I respect.
“Elijah had just endured the incredible strain of single-handedly opposing 400 priests of the idol Baal and the people of Israel and the king. God vindicated his faith, and he ran exuberantly for miles in front of the king’s chariot. Then he heard that the king’s wife, Jezebel, vowed to kill him. In his fear and exhaustion he went into the wilderness, sat down under a broom tree, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers’ (1 Kings 19:4).” (John Piper) (emphasis mine)
The words “fear and exhaustion” described my condition exactly. I knew that Elijah didn’t stay forever under that broom tree feeling sorry for himself and I was encouraged that I would not either.
Earlier this week I was thanking God for ministering to my fears and giving me rest and renewed strength, and praising Him for lifting that veil of depression. In retrospect, the source of my fears and even my exhaustion were just bumps in the road – but then, even a bump in the road can put you on your face if you aren’t holding on.