Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”
- 1 Kings 19:3-5
“The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive— only material things don’t suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression.
“When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things— things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Let me clarify. I am no angel, but sometimes I feel like the angel in the Scripture above.
If you go to a doctor, just about any of them these days, you can tell the doctor you have a difficulty coping. They will probably give you as pill for that, whether you really need it or not is another question. Without Jesus, I have no doubt that you cannot cope. But as Oswald Chambers suggests that even the Godliest among us can have their moments.
My wife has had a hard time lately. The weather is cold. The fistula that is still not ready to be used is by-passing too much blood from her hand and the fingers are often numb and often white in color. She calls herself the poor man’s Michael Jackson as she wears a wool glove on just that hand to hold what little warmth there is near the fingers.
What makes it worse is that she misplaces the other glove, so she often wears two obviously different gloves while at the dialysis center, hot pink and light pink, hot pink and blue (that combo she swears was accidental, thinking she had a true pair), whatever other combinations. Thank the Lord, she has never worn black and blue. That might be taken as a subliminal message, and they’ll arrest me for abuse.
But then she goes to the dialysis center and she hears that her anemia is back, and she is not eating enough red meat. First, we cannot afford a steady steak diet. Second, my wife had surgery nearly twenty years ago that messed up her stomach and she can only eat a couple of ounces of red meat and then she is done. Third, she has told them all this, but they give no alternate solutions. Her lament a couple of days ago was that when you are anemic, you just do not want to eat. She could have added that when you are depressed, you just don’t want to eat.
Yep, I feel like the angel in the story above.
She says, “I don’t feel like going to dialysis today.” I reply, “Get dressed.”
She says, “I had diarrhea all night. I can’t go to dialysis today.” I reply, “You probably have nothing left in your system. Get dressed.”
She says, “I have a headache. I absolutely can’t go to dialysis today under any circumstances.” I reply, “You can have a headache while they filter your blood. Get dressed.”
Then, I suggest that I am going to do the grocery shopping while she has dialysis later in the week and she says that she needs to see something other than the house, the center, and church. So, when I picked her up that day from dialysis, we went shopping, at two different places. We may have forgotten a couple of items that she had planned on getting, but impromptu is almost as important as the ordinary things.
Sometimes doing ordinary things, just putting one foot in front of the other, turns an “I can’t” into a “I did it, and it wasn’t that bad.”
It sounds abrupt and even a bit rude, but it often works. As the angel said to Elijah,“Get up and eat.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.