Tag Archives: Elijah

Elijah – From Elation to Depression

Life can be great; it can be challenging. Ups bring joy, and downs deep despair. Sometimes, it seems as if we’ve descended too deeply to return to the status quo, let alone ascend to joy or elation! If this describes your state of being sometimes, as it can mine, we’re in good company! This week, I’ll introduce you to Elijah, who went from great joy and confidence to deep despair in a hurry.

Elijah lived and prophesied during the reign of Ahab, uttering God’s words to an unfaithful Israel: Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” (1Kings 17:1)

Many of you already know of God’s victory against Ahab, Jezebel, and the prophets of Baal. But, just in case you don’t . . . Through Elijah, God informed rebellious Israel that He would bring drought. And why not? Sometimes, it’s good for entitled people to remember just how powerless they are and how much better off they’d be if they’d honor a relationship with God! Evil Queen Jezebel, who forsook the God of her ancestors (e.g., 1Kings 18:18-19), consorted with prophets of the lesser god Baal (the god of the Canaanites). In a showdown, Baal’s prophets couldn’t coax Baal into consuming a sacrifice with fire despite dancing, yelling, and flesh cutting (1Kings 18:26-29). God’s turn.

No yelling. No cutting. No dancing. Elijah’s prayer was simple, and God’s response instant and complete. Fire from the sky consumed the sacrifice and the water Elijah had drenched it in (1Kings 18:30-39)! Elation for Elijah! But the joy wouldn’t last.

As you can imagine, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel weren’t pleased! They chased Elijah, who ran for days to escape their wrath. Discouraged and tired, he wished he were dead (1Kings 19:4). What a departure from the incredible elation of just a few days earlier when he basked in the glory of God’s victory! But swinging between highs and lows is what we often do as humans as the memories of successes and excellent stuff fade.

God nursed Elijah back to health and spoke to him. In a thunderous voice? No. In the middle of great wind or earthquake? No. The quiet space was God’s medium for parlaying with Elijah (1Kings 19:9-13). Our moods swing, but God is loving, patient, and faithful in responding to His children. You are one . . . right? If you aren’t (or aren’t sure), let’s talk! Regardless, listen carefully as God may speak to you in ways and places you don’t expect!

In summary, be on God’s side to help overcome adversity and deep depression. In the following article, we’ll revisit something many of us learned as kids: “Be careful little eye what you see, little ear what you hear!”

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.

How Dry I Am! How Dry . . .

“Dude! I don’t I feel God’s presence? Maybe He has left me!” You’d be surprised at how often these thoughts or questions come up! Perhaps you’ve wondered or asked them yourself. It’s OK. Let’s talk about why we think we need to ‘feel’ the presence of God.

Our creator designed us to bear His image.

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . . God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

Do you know that He and the One we know as Jesus felt emotion (and, logically, still do)?

God: “Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:13)

Jesus: “Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him . . .” (Mark 10:21); “When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’” (Luke 7:13)

We are imagers of God. He operates by free will; so do we (with good or bad consequences!). He feels; we feel. So God understands our emotions. The downside is that we can mistake feeling for Spirit and go into a tailspin when we don’t ‘feel’ Him. The truth is that, although our interaction with God can produce human feelings, the Spirit of God isn’t an emotion. He is either with us or not, regardless of what we feel. Old Covenant Elijah and David exemplify this reality.

God was with Elijah, as evidenced by His destruction of pagan priests and an animal sacrifice (1 Kings 18:20-40). He was probably on top of the world! Yet, he had a complete reversal when running from King Ahab soon afterward. Elijah was so depressed that he wished to die. He didn’t ‘feel’ the presence of God. However, he learned that God had not left Him as revealed in a ‘gentle wind’ (1 Kings 19:11-13).

David? Within the first 100 Psalms, you’ll discover quickly that David’s emotions were up one minute, down the next. He knew that God was his foundation (e.g., Psalm 18), but, later, he cries, “Where are you?!?” (as in Psalm 13).

And then there’s my dear wife, who felt like she was in a ‘spiritual desert’ for several years. Once she realized that God had been with her all the time and was waiting for her to do her job of introducing His Kingdom to others in work, play, and life, her outlook changed, and she’s been fine ever since.

In summary, our emotions (or lack thereof!) may keep us from remembering that God gives His Spirit to His own; feelings are ours. Next week, we’ll take a deep dive into Jesus’ washings in the upper room as we contrast born-again forgiveness and continued forgiveness.

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley