Defeating Depression – Part 2

Defeating Depression – Part 2
Pastor Bruce E. Parks
God''s plan of counseling
Today there are many theories regarding how to counsel people with emotional and personal problems.  There are those that believe in being very direct, not mincing words, telling the person what he needs to do to overcome his inner struggles.  Other people are more inclined to use a non-directive, emphasizing the importance of listening to people assuming they will come up with their own solution.
Unfortunately, both approaches represent an either/ or position.  The truth is, at times, people just need someone to listen to them and at other times, they need a boat load of specific directions.  Now in most instances, people struggling with problems like depression, need both a sympathetic listening ear as well as good information as to how to overcome , defeat and solve their problems. 
We shall call the listening approach – ventilating and verbalizing.  And we shall call the direct approach – visualizing and verifying.  It takes a great deal of wisdom to maintain a balance, and that balance has to be given by God.  Through the Lord''s approach in each person''s particular circumstances, He gives us a model that yields some very powerful principles that will help us maintain the balance in a variety of counseling situations.  God''s model is once again found in the book of 1Kings with Elijah.   
After Elijah''s stunning and overwhelming defeat of the prophets of Baal and the subsequent threat by Jezebel and the enormous physical strain during the entire set of encounters, Elijah sat down with heavy feet and a heavy heart and just decided, - Lord, just kill me and take me home.  Now we''ll look at how the Lord healed Elijah and can heal you to of the depression you suffer.
Principle #1  - God listened to Elijah
In verse 9 of 1 Kings 19, God asked the question, " What are you doing here Elijah?".  I think we all would agree that God never asks a question because He doesn''t know the answer.  The question that God asked Elijah was to give him an opportunity to ventilate and verbalize.  Elijah''s response in verse 10, says "I have been very zealous for the Lord God almighty.  The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword.  I am the only one left, and now they''re trying to kill me too."  God listened and did not interrupt and allowed Elijah to speak his heart.  He did not argue with Elijah, call into question his faith or accuse him of not performing to the highest standards instead, He just listened. 
Principle #2 - God provided
The Lord recognized that a portion of Elijah''s emotional blow-out came from a depletion of his physical man.  He was overworked and had tapped into his physical reserves to the point of exhaustion.  Until  you have restored yourself physically, your brain will try to shut itself down in order to preserve what strength you have left.  When you''re physically exhausted, it''s difficult to think straight, to reason, and to see reality the way God wants you to.  In order to restore Elijah physically, He provided for him with food and drink. 
Principle #3 – God will cause you to face reality
Jesus said, "I am the truth" and therefore everything He does is truthful and He knows that the truth will make us free.  We often hide ourselves in distorted reality which causes severe anxiety and depression  and results in us relying too much on experience and not in faith.  Whenever God brings us into reality, He is really developing objectivity.  Once we know the truth and see the truth, we begin to hear the pattern of God''s whisper that brings us to restoration.  God used several events in the cleft of the rock to bring Elijah to reality:  through wind, earthquakes, and fire, God showed Elijah the reality and blessings of the still small voice.
Depression is a common and natural emotional state.  It is activated by any number of external and internal stimuli.  Physical exhaustion , an overtaxed mind ,  unsolvable problems and a regretted past can all trigger emotion.  I believe that any person capable of exalting and worshipping God with high praise is susceptible to the low places of depression.  We must remember that God is always listening.  Whether we believe it or not, He does and He is right now.  We must believe that God has the answer, whether we believe it or not.  He is your peace in the storm, your solution to every trial and tribulation.  He has in His hand the sword that brings destruction to your depression that you might live with and for the Prince of Peace.