Overcoming Depression by Looking Beyond Yourself

How does God deal with a person who was depressed?

    One of the greatest heroes of Scripture is Elijah. He began by boldly confronting king Ahab and telling him that it would not rain or be dew until he (Elijah) said so.  (I Kings 17:1).  He saw all kinds of miracles.  God sent ravens feed him during the famine.  God then used a widow woman to sustain him.  Of course, she was to first use her bit last oil and last meal to cook a cake for the prophet.  She had to look beyond herself and her own son.   The oil and meal did not run out during the stay of Elijah.   Then Elijah confronted and challenged the four hundred prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.  God sent fire down from Heaven to consume the sacrifice, the altar, and the water.  However, when Ahab told his wife the wicked queen Jezebel about what Elijah had done to her prophets of Baal, she became furious and sent word that she would have him killed by the next day.

    Poor Elijah responded by becoming depressed and suicidal.  "O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers" (I Kings 19:4).  Again he responded to the LORD, "And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away" (I Kings 19:10).  Later when God confronted him at the mouth of the cave and asked him what he was doing there, Elijah whined, "And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away" (I Kings 19:14).   POOR ME! No body loves me! Everyone is out to get me!

    However, it is AMAZING what God told him.  God told him to do three things.  First, God told him to go an anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.  Second, God told him to anoint Jehu to be king over Israel.  Third, God to him to get Elisha and train him to take his own place as a prophet. THE WAY THAT GOD TREATED ELIJAH'S DEPRESSION WAS TO GET HIM TO LOOK BEYOND HIMSELF.   If you are depressed, it is most likely that you are not looking beyond yourself.

Most every vision from God begins with a Need of someone beyond ourselves.

1. God called Abram to leave his country and travel to a land that he did not know not solely that he would be blessed but that he would be a blessing to others.
"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:    And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:    And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed"  (Genesis 12:1-3). (Note the purpose that all the families of the earth be blessed).
2. God reiterated the promise to Isaac.
"And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:  Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 26:2-4). (Note the purpose that the nations of the earth be blessed).
3. God gave Joseph a vision of ruling over his family one day that he might bless his family and save not only his family but the Egyptians and others.
"And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.    And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:    For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.    And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.    And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.    And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?"  (Genesis 37:5-10).

"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:20).

4. God gave Moses a vision that He might free the Hebrew children from slavery and also lead them into the promised land.
"And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water" (Exodus 2:10).   (God's purpose is seen in his name for he was to draw the people out of Egypt.)

"And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows" (Exodus 3:7).

"Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:10).

5. God called Jonah to preach to Nineveh that the city might repent, turn to God, and be saved.
"Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me" (Jonah 1:1-2)..

"And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,  Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee" (Jonah 3:1-2).

"Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:  And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?" (Jonah 4:10-11).   (Jonah was also angry, depress, and suicidal because he failed to look beyond himself.)

We must be other-people-minded.

6. God sent Jesus, the Son, into the world that we might be saved from our sins.

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).   (Name mean "I AM is Saviour".)
7. God saved the four lepers that they might save the city from starvation.  (There had been not only the eating of unclean animals, but also cannibalism.)
"And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it.   Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household" (II Kings 7:8-9).

"And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD" (II Kings 7:16).

8. Jesus said that we are first to give to others.
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again"  (Luke 6:38).  (It starts with giving what you have).
Paul also said, "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
9. Esther was called to make an appearance before the king and make an appeal to the king that both she and her people were to be saved.
"For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, [then] shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14).
10. When John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos, Jesus appeared unto him and commissioned him to write letters to the seven churches that they might minister to the churches through the ages.
"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne" (Revelation 1:4).
11. God commissioned Balaam's donkey to stop and talk to Balaam that he might be saved.
"And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way" (Numbers 22:23).
"And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?" (Numbers 22:28).

"And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:    And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive" (Numbers 22:32-33).

12. David had a mission to kill Goliath that Saul, the king, and the army of Israel might be saved.
David told Eliab, his elder brother, "What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" (I Samuel 17:29).

"Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.   And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron" (I Samuel 1:51-52)

13. God gave Nehemiah a vision to go back and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple that the people might be blessed.
"Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:    But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.    Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.    O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer"  (Nehemiah 1:8-11).
14. Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus telling them to work that others might be blessed.
"Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth"  (Ephesians 4:28).
15. God designated the chosen fast to help the needy.
"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?    Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?    Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.    Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;    And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:    And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.    And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in"  (Isaiah 58:6-12).
16. Isaiah had a vision of God in His temple and was cleansed that he might volunteer to speak to the people for God and warn the people.
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me" (Isaiah 6:8).

"And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not" (Isaiah 6:9).

17.  Jesus said to look beyond yourself to the field that is already ready for the harvest.
"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35).

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.    Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:    Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen"  (Matthew 28:18-20).

18. Paul had a vision to go to Macedonia to preach to the unreached people.
"And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us" (Acts 16:9).   "And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them" (Acts 16:10).
19. Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee to minister to the Gadarenes.
"Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side" (Matthew 8:18).

"And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way" (Matthew 8:28).

"Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.  And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel" (Mark 5:19-20)

20. Jesus needed to go through Samaria to share the good news to a woman who shared it with all the men that she knew.

"And he must needs go through Samaria" (John 4:4)

"The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,  Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?   Then they went out of the city, and came unto him" (John 4:28-30).

21. We are to be a light unto others who sit in darkness that they might see.
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.    Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven"  (Matthew 5:14-16).

"Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,    To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace"  (Luke 1:78-79).

Who do you see as having a need beyond yourself?
Depression & Suicide