It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. (1 Kings 19:4b)
It is not uncommon for Gods people to suffer from nervous depression, just as Elijah did. Moses and Jonah also wished they could die (Ex. 32:32; Jonah 4:3). The Lord has never promised believers exemption from this type of trouble. Neither does the presence of this affliction necessarily indicate a lack of faith or spirituality. It could happen to any one of us.
When it does strike, it is something like this. You feel that God has forsaken you, even though you know very well that He never forsakes His own. You go to the Word of God for comfort, and invariably you turn to a passage on the unpardonable sin or the hopeless condition of an apostate. You experience the frustration of having an affliction that cannot be removed by surgery and cannot be cured by medicines. Your friends suggest that you should snap out of it, but they never tell you how. You pray and long for some quick remedy, but find that while nervous prostration comes in pounds, it leaves in ounces. All you can think about is yourself and your own misery. In your despondency, you wish you could die by some dramatic act of God.
Depression like this can have several different causes. There may be a physical problem; anemia, for instance, can cause your mind to play tricks on you. There may be a spiritual cause; sin unconfessed or unforgiven can do it. There may be an emotional basis; the unfaithfulness of a spouse can bring it on. Overwork or extreme mental stress can lead to nervous exhaustion. Or it may be caused by a medication to which a certain individual may react unfavorably.
What can be done? First, go to God in prayer, asking Him to work out His wonderful purposes. Confess and forsake all known sin. Forgive anyone who may have wronged you. Then have a thorough medical checkup to rule out any physical ailment as a possible reason. Take drastic action to eliminate causes of overwork, worry, stress and anything else that might be bothering you. Regular rest, good food and physical work out of doors all provide good therapy.
From then on, you must learn how to pace yourself, daring to say no to claims on you that might push you over the brink again.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon