- Paperback: 120 pages
- Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books (July 13, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1892777932
- ISBN-13: 978-1892777935
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,647,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Overcoming Spiritual Depression Paperback – July 13, 2006
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"Overcoming Spiritual Depression is packed with godly wisdom and heartfelt compassion for Christians who are battling the Elijah syndrome of discouragement. It is also a healing tonic for those who have loved ones suffering from this spiritual, emotional, and psychological malady. The dos and don'ts of how to respond to the suffering are expounded, in a most engaging way, from Elijah and the author's experience under the juniper tree (1 Kings 19). Concise yet thorough, practical yet spiritual, this book opens up the world of depression such that both the depressed and those closely associated with them will be gripped and liberated by the author's many enlightening insights. Every minister, office-bearer, and caring believer should read it to learn how to counsel and interact with those who are spiritually cast down and emotionally depleted." ~ Joel R. Beeke
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'When Jezebel swore that she would see to it that the next day would be his last (1 Kings 19:2), Elijah did not respond by saying, 'The Lord is God; my times are in His hands'. Instead, Elijah flees. Elijah...now fled for fear of Jezebel's revenge. The fact that Elijah fled, and the manner in which he did so, confirm that he remained a man of like passions as we are.' p 27
Charismatics wrongly interpret James' words to mean that we, like Elijah, can do great works. An all-wise and all-knowing God did not elect one of the minor prophets, for He chose Elijah, one of the greatest of the OT prophets, to teach the humbling truth of the matter: depression can happen to anybody, even God's blessed servant. 'Elijah's history also confirms that it is simply not true what some suggest, namely, that a healthy spiritual life precludes the possibility of becoming seriously depressed. Did not Elijah demonstrate on Mt Carmel that his spiritual life was healthy?' p 13 In this way our own natures, or passions, correspond to that of the feeble prophet, for it did not take him long to descend from the lofty mountain top of Carmel to the valley of despair.
Depression is endemic in our time, and in evidence are the many wounded children of God who have not escaped its clutches. Three lengths of depression have been diagnosed: mild (it appears infrequently) moderate (it comes and goes) manic (it has become an accepted lifestyle). But common to all is the element of surprise involved, as many upright Christians never imagined that they could be subject to such depression. 'Many depressed persons and their relatives have asked themselves how it is possible that they or others could have come into such circumstances.' p 2 In the desert, under the Broom tree, Elijah cried out to God: "I've had enough". It is especially here that many of us go looking for help in all the wrong places, some even thinking, 'All I need is a fix', or as Rev Elshout stated it, 'Our sinful nature often prescribes to the Lord what He must do, and when and how He must do it. We have to learn that we cannot force God's hand.' p 23 In such times our faith in God who hears and answers prayer in His own way will greatly be tested. While it belongs to God to determine what is most conducive for His glory, we must persevere under trial, as Calvin exhorted, 'while longing for its termination, to be ready at the Lord's will to continue in it, keeping far from everything like murmuring and impatience. For it is as if the Lord has assigned us a post which we must maintain till He recalls us.' Institutes 3:9:4 At that precise low the Lord answered his prayer by sending an angel to minister to a frail Elijah.
Anticlimactically, Elijah's fear of man and temporary lapse into self-preservation was in reality a vote of no-confidence in a seemingly absent God. Suffice it to say, each time the question 'Where is God in my suffering?' is raised, it serves as an indictment not against God, but against our unbelief, were we to choose to succumb to the pressure and fall back from our God-given calling. The attack on God's omnipresence is all the more evident when we become ambivalent and uncaring toward God's purposes through our trials. This may lead some to charge God rashly, e.g. the specious argument that the doctrine of predestination has caused countless Christians anxiety and depression. "I alone am left." This is a typical example of feelings-based prediction which does not reflect reality. Were it not for the divine decree of election in this beautiful self-revelation of God, Elijah would surely still have retained feelings of doubt. In stating that "I have left seven thousand in Israel" was God not clearly informing Elijah that their faithfulness to Yahweh had its origin in Yahweh Himself? For if God could declare Himself mighty to save and to preserve, Elijah could hopefully take hold of the omnipotence of his God. Elijah, by the grace of God, recovered and he received a new commission, and because of our great God, so can we. God is faithful, even amidst drought, amidst slaughter, amidst idolatry, amidst apostasy, amidst the threat of death. God is able to prevail in preserving a faithful remnant, despite visible proofs to the contrary.
'He will indeed manifest His mercy to those who in all humility cry out to Him and who, regardless of how difficult their circumstances may be, continue to hope for His goodness.' p 56