Keep Calm and Read a Psalm 142:3-5:
“When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.
In the way in which I walk
They have secretly set a snare for me.
Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who acknowledges me;
Refuge has failed me;
No one cares for my soul.
I cried out to You, O Lord:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.”
Call me Freud, but I’ve just invented a new disorder—Post Carmelic Stress Disorder (PCSD). And I’ve been busy diagnosing people. I think I may have found my first patient here in Psalm 142. Read what David is going through—he’s feeling lonely, abandoned, and overwhelmed. “No one cares for my soul”—any Amens to that one? I’d diagnose it as Post Carmelic Stress Disorder—or, to put it in simple terms, depression.
In 1 Kings 19, I found another patient: Elijah the prophet—running for dear life from Jezebel to the deserts south of Israel. Falling under a juniper tree, he echoes the Psalmist: “Take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers!” But press and hold the rewind button back to chapter 18, when Elijah calls down fire from heaven, kills the prophets of Baal, and ends a major drought on Mt. Carmel. Talk about a high point. Fast-forward to 19—weeping under a juniper tree thinking suicidal thoughts. Useless. Alone. Yep, definitely a case of PCSD.
But maybe you have it too. Ever feel like you’re the only one doing what’s right? Like things didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to? That your plans got rejected? Could be a case of PCSD. Well, join David and Elijah in my office (man, the couch is getting full!). Now, how do you overcome this? Well, scoot over—I’m on that couch too, because there’s only one Psychologist Who can help us all through this disorder. Only, He’s not a psychologist. He’s Jesus Christ. Let’s look at His six steps for overcoming Post-Carmelic Stress Disorder as seen in 1 Kings 19:
1. First, take care of your physical and spiritual needs (vs. 5-8). Like Elijah, part of your problem may be your physical exhaustion. God sent a heavenly health expert to Elijah who twice encouraged him to eat and rest. Maybe for you, it’s time for a jog, a large glass of water, and a nap. But it’s not just the physical needs we need to work on—while you’re at it, get a healthy diet of the Word and rest in a consistent prayer life.
2. Consider your motives for feeling depressed (vs. 9-10). God asked Elijah what he’s doing there. Elijah came up with some lame-o excuse. Typical—for us and him.
3. Consider Who God is and how He works (vs. 11-12). God gave Elijah some action-packed awesomeness on Mt. Sinai, but ended it with a still, small voice. Elijah began to realize that God doesn’t have to work through the grand and glorious like on Carmel, but often in the simpler, unseen ways. Maybe it’s time you paid a visit to Sinai yourself and heard the gentle whisper of God.
4. Consider your motives again (vs. 13-14)—but now consider them in light of what you’ve seen in your God.
5. Forget yourself and focus on others (vs. 15-17). God ignores Elijah’s “boohoo” excuse and tells him to get busy anointing Jehu, Hazael, and Elisha. Maybe it’s time for you to focus on somebody else, rather than on your problems.
6. Oh, and by the way—realize your depression doesn’t even make sense (vs. 18). God tells Elijah that he’s reserved seven thousand in Israel who haven’t bowed to Baal. Elijah’s excuse that he’s the only one left just doesn’t hold up to the evidence. And he knew it all along—after all, Obadiah just told him in chapter 18 that he had hidden a HUNDRED prophets of God in a cave. Elijah was just blind to it. But before you judge him too strongly, consider yourself. Why are you depressed? Does it make much sense? Tell someone else about it and see if it holds up—better yet, tell your Heavenly Father about it!
Perhaps it’s time for you to follow these steps and find victory in Christ for your Post-Carmelic Stress Disorder. Maybe it’s time for you to understand that God knows and cares for even the most overwhelming of needs. Maybe it’s time to consider God your refuge—and leave all your depression under the juniper tree. After all, isn’t Christ all we need?
-Matthew W., SC