Book Review Blurb: If I’m a Christian, Why Am I Depressed?

The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog references something I have been reading lately. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book, magazine article or blog post I have or am reading.

 

Being afraid. Running for your life.

“Just kill me.” “I am no better than anyone in my family.”

Leaving those who are there to help you.

Who or what does that sound like to you? It sounds like a deeply disturbed or depressed man, doesn’t it? It sounds like a man who has lost his anchor or purpose. It sounds like a man who could use some counseling.

Well, if you are equipped or eager to help such a man, then meet the prophet Elijah (I Kings 19:1-8). The day following one of the most dramatic scenes in the Bible and one of the greatest defeats of false religion (I Kings 18:20-40), the prophet Elijah, a witness to that victory, was terrorized by Queen Jezebel and ran approximately 100 miles south. He ran for his life!

How does one go from such a high to such a low?

Bob Somerville, who is a professor in the biblical counseling department at The Masters College, has written a book called If I’m a Christian, Why Am I Depressed? And in that book (in Chapter 3), he classifies Elijah as a man who fought depression. I admit that I have never considered Elijah to be such a candidate for such a common problem, but after reading Somerville’s chapter on Elijah’s fight with depression, he has me convinced.

Somerville says,

“Even in our times of greatest usefulness, victory, and success, we may be just a step away from falling into the darkest depression. The emotional and physical strain of continuous conflict and confrontation can bring a sudden collapse to even the strongest of God’s servants.” (pg. 53)

That is what happened to Elijah. He could face 450 false prophets of Baal, but when it came to facing Queen Jezebel, he was self-reliant, self-focused, failed to trust the power of God and then ended up embracing his despair this all led to.

So how did Elijah get out of his depression? Somerville answers:

“God’s loving solution was to just show Himself to Elijah, and that was enough. God called him to come out of the cave and stand on the mountain, the same mountain where the same God revealed himself to Moses and where He had given the Law. Then God passed by with a wind so strong that it rent the mountain and shattered the rocks, but the Lord was not in the wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire. He came and spoke to Elijah in a gentle whisper. Elijah faced the thundering elements with awe, but he covered his face in the presence of that quiet voice. He covered his face even as the angels do (Isa 6:2), for no one can see God and live (Exod 33:20).” (pgs. 56-57)

If you want or need a book on depression, If I’m a Christian, Why Am I Depressed? by Robert Somerville needs to go on your shelf. The profile of Elijah’s depression in Chapter 3 is worth the price of admission.0000000000

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