I never cease to be amazed how easily, and under what circumstances, depression sets in upon the child of God. Elijah experienced depression shortly after his victory over the 430 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). One would think that following such a wonderful “high” he would have been able to dwell on the mountain for the foreseeable future. But such was not the case.
Once upon a time there was a man who felt he’d reached the end of his rope. It seemed that all interest had vanished from his life. His old friend, the family doctor, saw his depression and said, “Alright, you must do exactly as I tell you. I want you to find a lonely stretch of beach and spend all day at the shore. Take nothing to read. I’m going to give you four prescriptions. Take the first one at nine, the second one at twelve, the third at three, and the last at six. Don’t look at them now. Wait until you arrive at the shore.”
Arriving a little before nine, he parked his car on a lonely stretch of beach, walked to a sand dune and sat down. He opened prescription number one and read it. It said, “Listen.” And so for three hours that’s all he did. He listened to the song of the buffeting wind and the lonely cries of the gulls. At noon he read the second prescription. It said, “Reach back.” And so for the next three hours he let his mind go back as far as it could, and thought of all the incidents of his life – the happy times, good times, struggles, and successes. At three o’clock he tore open the third prescription. It read, “Re-examine your motives.” He thought through his reasons for living, clarifying and stating his goals. Finally, at six o’clock, under a grey, darkening sky and with a taste of salt in the wind, he read the fourth and final prescription. It read, “Write your worries in the sand.” And so he did. Within a short period of time he watched as those worries were washed away by the tide. And the young man turned homeward with a renewed attitude.
I wonder how often we allow the circumstances around us to chip away at our faith and lead us down the path into depression. If you are suffering from depression, may I make a couple of suggestions? Unplug your TV for 30 days. Dwell on things that are good, things that are of good report, and things that will restore your confidence in God and His providential watch care over us. Focus on that wonderful promise in Hebrews 13:5: “Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee.” There are no less than four keys contained within that passage for defeating depression. First, “Be free from the love of money.” Mammon is not your master; Christ is! Second, be content with such things as ye have. The mad race for things has destroyed the faith of many a man and plunged him into despair and destruction. Third, remember that God will not fail thee. This speaks of our Father’s power and ability to care for us. Finally, remember that God will not forsake thee. This speaks of His will to care for you.
If you are depressed, discouraged, disappointed, or simply down and out, take some time to mediate on the word of God. Therein lies the power for overcoming depression.