In yesterday’s post, Dr. Bob Somerville began using the example of Elijah to draw principles for us to consider when counseling one another through depression. The emphasis, yesterday, was the factors that contributed to Elijah’s depressed state. In today’s post, Bob demonstrates the loving care and compassion of God toward His struggling servant by drawing our attention to 8 principles of God’s ministry to Elijah.
Part 2: How God Handled His Servant’s Depression
- God is the Counselor in this Case. It is crucial to remember at this point that God is handling the situation. He is omniscient. Remember that God is the counselor who needs no counsel (Isa 40:13). You will need to ask many questions but God already knows the need for rest (Prov 18:13). Jesus is the ‘Wonderful Counselor’ (Isa 9:6).
- God Gives His Servant Physical Rest (1 Kings 19:5). Elijah could have expected God’s judgment (Isa 55:7-9; Psa 103:13,14), but God gave sleep first (Psa 127:2). Counselors should give rest before confrontation and not extend counseling when people are exhausted.
- God Gives His Servant Physical Nourishment (1 Kings 19:5-6). God sends an angel to touch and feed him. Other examples of the use of angels are with Lot, Daniel, Peter and Paul. God delivered a savory cake, not just a piece of cheese but a real filet special. Lack of physical nourishment can bring on depression. Improper diet can be a great contributing factor in depression. Hypoglycemia. Thyroid problems, etc.
- God Gives His Servant Proof of His Love (1 Kings 19:4-6). The sleep (19:4), the angel (19:5-6), the food (19:5-6) are all examples. reflect further on Psalm 103:10; 2 Timothy 2:13; Phil 1:6.
- God Gives His Servant Awareness of His Power (1 Kings 19:11-13). Power in the wind – breaking in pieces the rocks. Power in the earthquake – terror of an earthquake. Power in the fire – awesome heat of a fire. God’s arm is not short. You may not have seen the results that you wanted to see yet, but God is at work. Point their mind to Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides (Gen 22:14). Put your mind on the God of power who promises to keep your trials short & to perfect, confirm, strengthen & establish you (1 Pet 5:5b-11)
- God Gives His Servant a Vision of His Presence (1 Kings 19:11). The Lord’s presence will pass by (19:11; compare Exod 33:18-23; 34:5-7). God spoke in the gentle blowing wind. No one can take you out of the hand of the Good Shepherd (John 10:28). There is nowhere you can go from God’s presence (Psa 139:7-12). God guards our going in and coming out (Psa 121:8).
- God Gives His Servant a Proper Perspective of the Facts (1 Kings 19:17-18). You are not the only one left – 7,000 have not bowed the knee to Baal. For an example of one called to physical suffering look at Job (Job 2:10). All of us are called to suffer for Christ (1 Pet. 1:6-7; 2 Cor 11:24-27).
- God Gives His Servant an Assignment (1 Kings 19:15-16). It is very important for the depressed person to get on with his or her duties in life, though they have to start small.
Tomorrow, in Part 3, Bob will give us some suggested application projects. You may order the audio disk from this workshop, “What to Do when the Counselor Wakes Up Depressed” from Sound Word.