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When we look at any of the areas where we may struggle, we must consider God’s response first. His response becomes our example of how we should respond. His response to matters of the heart give us direction in how we should move forward.
We have been looking at the suicide prayer of Elijah. Now, let’s look at God’s response to Elijah:
1 Kings 19:3-9
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.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.
Elijah is ready to die, but there is no sermon from the Lord. There is no book to read. In fact, we could say that God gave Elijah nothing spiritual except the presence of an angel representing the Lord.
When we are struggling with depression and suicidal ideation, the first thing we must remember is that God runs to us, not away from us. Like a father suddenly hearing the cries of his child running frantically to the child to care for them so God runs to His children when they hurt. Then He stays with them.
There has never been a dark valley or troubled time when God was not there. He has given man freewill so He must witness the worst atrocities, but He is there weeping over us, hanging on every word we say, making sure the goal of the enemy of our soul is never met. Sometimes, just knowing that we are not alone is powerful and enough.
The angel brought food, a hot meal. The Lord knows that our bodies, when completely taxed, can overwhelm our spirit. The state of my physical body can make it easier or more difficult to hold on to the Lord in the worst moments. He fed Elijah. Sometimes, the Lord will feed us, sometimes, He will help us sleep. He always knows what we need to bring our physical body to a place that allows our spirit to hear Him.
I love that God let Elijah rest before calling him to the mountain of God. Jesus said that all who are weary can come to Him and He will give us rest. There is no pressure. There is no indignation. There is no shaming. There is no condemnation. No, God just stays there and lets Elijah rest.
It would seem that God is not angered when we struggle, but He does draw nearer to us in those same moments.
If you are struggling with depression, despair, suicide, above all things, know that God has come nearer to you. He does not come with expectations nor pressure, but simply to give you the rest you need. Any pressure you may feel to do this or that or to snap out of it is not coming from the Lord. God comes to you with no demands, but a compassionate heart.
Are you able to listen to the calling of the Spirit for you to rest in moments of depression and thoughts of suicide? Rest in Him. Rest knowing the He is able to give you what you need. Rest knowing this situation will not end as it appears. Trust in the Lord and rest.