The story: Elijah was depressed. It is enough. Take my life, he cried out to God. His life had not turned out the way he planned. (You can read it in 1 Kings 19:4-21.)

The dilemma: Elijah had spiritual depression. He was replaying old grievances.

The danger: Whatever shapes your thinking shapes your life. When you get spiritually depressed, you become a target for satanic assault. You drive yourself into self-imposed isolation and thereby lose your support system.

God's response: God asked Elijah, What are you doing there? Elijah was an imperfect person and God went to great lengths to bring him out of his spiritual depression and provide what he needed. He did not abandon Elijah nor will He abandon you, but you must refuse to play those negative tapes from your past that drowns out His voice. God gave Elijah his marching orders and promised him success if he followed them.

Your response: when you find yourself in a spiritual depression you must:

  • Make prayer part of every day. Billy Graham wrote, I have never met a person who spent time in daily prayer and in the study of God's Word...who was ever discouraged for very long. In the morning, prayer is the key that opens to us the treasures of God's mercies and blessings; in the evening, it is the key that shuts us up under His protection and safeguard.

  • Seek out a fellow believer to lean on and to support. Two are better than one...If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!...Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecc. 4: 9-10, 12). The two do not have to be married - but if not, they should be of the same sex.

  • Re-enter the game. God permits in your life only those negative events that He plans to use to make you grow. If the trials were just cured or taken away, you would not be any more mature - even though you were no longer in pain. Without change, you wouldn't be equipped to re-enter the game of life. Your challenge is to begin anew, knowing that with the help of God you will succeed.

  • Celebrate. You can weather and recover from difficult periods in your life - a financial blow, a divorce, the death of a loved one, seemingly insurmountable obstacles in your life. If you reach out to take the hand of the One who said He would never leave you, God will walk bedside you, and His strength and stamina will flow through your veins.

From A Passage Through Divorce: An Interactive Journal for Healing by Barbara Baumgardner, copyright (c) 1999. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tenn., 1-800-233-1123.

Barbara Baumgardner is a freelance writer and has contributed to many periodicals, including Christian Writer, Guideposts, Christian Woman, Home Life, and Virtue. She is active in grief recovery at a Hospice in Bend, Ore. Her previous books include A Passage Through Grief: An Interactive Journal and contributions to Meditations for the Widowed.