I want to take a few moments to discuss constipation. That certainly got your attention! The topic is actually depression. But, the word constipation is defined in Webster’s as “to make immobile, inactive”. That’s a pretty good definition of being depressed.
As I write this, it is just days before 9/11/2010; 9 years after the terrorist attack on the U.S. Every year at this time, the news media have force fed reminders of how horrible those events were; as if we need a reminder. People become grumpy, discouraged and depressed. Why? Largely because they are allowing the “news” to make them immobile, inactive…allowing terrorism to win by becoming mentally constipated.
Oswald Chambers pointed out that: “When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things-things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone.”
Take a look at 1 Kings 19:3 – 5. Elijah has just been given one of the greatest spiritual victories recorded in God’s Word. Then a single threat throws him into a panic, resulting in a loss of focus and depression. This is one of Satan’s favorite “terrorist tactics”. All of us have fallen victim to it at one time or another. As uplifting as Bible study and ministry are to me, quite often I have to fight off feelings of depression. My mind is bombarded with; “did I do it right, what could I have done better, did I ask the right questions, serve the right answers, talk too much, should I quit?…!” That’s not God talking to me. How do I know? Look back at the focus. During the ministry it is on Him. The questions following are regarding me. We are incapable of doing God’s work without His help. Therefore, we can’t take credit when we do it right. Likewise we shouldn’t feel guilt and give up when it doesn’t seem to go right. Our perspective is quite limited in comparison to that of our LORD. We need only to be willing servants. As Stuart Briscoe is fond of saying; “If you can’t do something goodly, be willing to do it badly”. If we’re willing to sow, God will make it grow!
Back to Elijah. This great prophet and hero of the faith is in deep depression. He just wants to give up and die. So, God sends an angel. He didn’t reprimand Elijah. Instead, he told him to “get up and eat”. God knows our hearts, minds and needs. He knows that, in order to take on the challenges of His work, we must first take care of basics. Even Jesus, in His human body, needed to get away and rest once in awhile. Lack of rest and improper nourishment lead to disorientation and further depression. So, take the angel’s advice. Climb out of the pity party and build up your strength. Then take the first step – get up – God will direct you to the next step and the ones following that.
Now look at 1 Kings: 6 – 8. Where did God lead Elijah? Into His Presence! God listened as Elijah “rationalized” his fear and depression. Then God gave him the best remedy anyone could receive; a reminder of Who He is! His might, glory, power and gentle love were all displayed to tell Elijah that He; God Almighty is in control. We are privileged to these same reminders – this same cure for depression. But, first we have to come before Him, pour out our concerns as a way of acknowledging them. Then as we open our eyes and ears to the wonders around us, God will reveal the Truth; He’s bigger than any situation and in control of them all.
The term most often used in opposition to constipation is “regularity”. God’s angel gave Elijah instructions to do the regular and leave the extraordinary up to Him. I think that’s very sound advice!