Do Christians experience Depression?
Elijah's tremendous fear which entailed suicidal thoughts (recorded in the Book of Kings) has been largely ignored by contemporary Church leaders. By “ignored" I do not mean that they don't know about it, but that they feel Elijah’s account is an exception and therefore exclusive to Elijah. Do Christians struggle with suicidal thoughts?
This situation is commonly considered unthinkable, and there is such a deep-seated taboo about this topic. Yet, the great prophet Elijah who was trailblazing to Carmel and slaughtered all of Baal's prophets ended up in despair, isolating himself from God, with an overwhelming death wish. The Apostle Paul displays similar tendencies when he reflected upon the heavy opposition from the Jews, the very people whom he loved so dearly:
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.”
(2 Cor 1:8)
Thanks be to God that the same person who experienced this despair also gave an account declaring that for those who love God, there is a hope, a certainty of God's hands uphold his people to endure whatever adversities may befall us:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Rather than saying that believers should not feel or experience such problems, let us be empathetic and supportive of our fellow brothers and sisters who are experiencing depression.
The Scriptures also give us hope by showing how God dealt with the matter and looked after Elijah by sending an angel to minister to his specific needs (See 1 Kings 19:5-18).
Like Elijah, Paul had the absolute certainty that God would deliver him despite severe persecutions from his adversaries. The severity of the oppositions only caused Paul to rely more on God and not on the default tendency of all men to be self-reliant, which is the basis of pride and downfall.
May the Holy Spirit give us a new sensitivity and understanding - let's encourage one another, and not give up meeting in our assembly and fellowship groups. As we see the day approaching, let us encourage ourselves (& others) in the Lord.