Editor’s Note: The AMI devotionals from July 13-19 are provided by Pastor Charles Choe of Tapestry LA.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Kings 18:41-46
So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees.
Depression is the common cold of our emotions. It can strike us at any time, even the most cheerful amongst us. It would be nice to think that as Christians, we don’t have dark days and discouragement doesn’t really get to us, but looking through the Bible’s greatest heroes, we find that time and again, despair can visit any one of us—at any time.
The classic study of a depressed person in the Bible is the prophet Elijah, the champion of Mt. Carmel. Of the many things we can say about depression, especially with the benefit of modern psychology, what is of interest for our purposes is the timing of Elijah’s depression. The onset of his depression is not during the famine or in the drought, but immediately after he defeats the false prophets of Baal, and God sends rain for the first time in three years.
Here is what we can learn from Elijah’s bout with depression: No one can run full throttle all the time. We all need to slow down to an idle occasionally. Keeping healthy in general –getting enough of the right kind of food, enough sleep, and sufficient exercise—may not guarantees us against depression, but it may help to prevent it and will certainly keep the body in a better state to deal with it.
The key is maintaining the pace God has built into His creation. Keep a rhythm between work and rest. If you are depressed, first get a good physical check-up to see whether there is anything physically or chemically wrong with you. If everything is all right physically, take some time off to let your body and soul catch up with one another.
And given that today is Sunday, you can make an immediate application. Go to church and worship with your community; rest in the Lord among friends. In fact, this should be a lifestyle: Sunday worship must be a priority. Minimize being away on the weekends, either for work or for vacations. If you are to rejuvenate not just body but spirit as well, you need make worship an essential part of your weekly schedule. This is true rest from your labor where your physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the joy of salvation. There are moments when I don’t always understand my own emotions, but I thank You that You know me perfectly. In my moments of loneliness and depression, may I sense the nearness of Your presence. Thank You for the community of faith You have given me. Help me to not take them for granted. May I find refreshment and encouragement through my friends at church. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Haggai 2