I Kings 19:3, 4 - Elijah was afraid and ran for his life … 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.” (NIV)
Facts on major depression and suicide:
- Studies show no variance of occurrence considering all factors. (social, economic, faith, ethnicity, etc.)
- 5 - 10% of Americans suffer from a major depressive disorder and 25% show criteria existing for a depressive disorder. (15 to 30 million and 80 million respectively)
- 2/3rd's of the 30,000 US suicide's each year are people suffering depression.
- The vast majority of suicides are people feeling they no longer belong, or are cared for, and now a burden.
- Major depression is not simply a state of mind or disorder of the brain … it is the embodiment of mental/emotional suffering.
- Major depression consists of physiological, social, and environmental factors.
- Significant contributing factors in major depression and risk of suicide are hopelessness, isolation, loss of daily contact, and high degree of uncertainty in life.
- There is one suicide approximately every 15 minutes and now considered an epidemic.
When encountering a person who suffers from major depression, it is a great disservice to simply categorize it as a spiritual issue. It affects people of all walks of life including "Spirit filled" believers who have operated in the "gifts of the Spirit."
The same holds true of merely attempting to reduce it to a disease wholly of mind. Depression encompasses body, soul, and yes spirit. With depression killing, stealing, and destroying; most certainly forces of spiritual darkness and oppression are at work.
Many believers come into contact with someone suffering major depression and attempt to help a few times. If not seeing the results envisioned, they pull away to prayer mode only. If knowing hopelessness, isolation, loss of contact, and uncertainty exacerbate depression. This choice is one of ceasing to walk in the Spirit and choose walking in the flesh which is sin.
Unless the individual has moved into a completely psychotic world; these actions reinforce isolation, loss of contact, hopelessness, and uncertainty.
I John 3: 16 - 18 By this we know what love is: Jesus laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone with earthly possessions sees his brother in need, but withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth. (NIV)
Our call is to minister to the complete person. If I choose to pull away and pray only, it signals surrender of ministering to the complete individual. Does God give up on me? No. Did Jesus give up? No. If He did, cancel the cross for the path of destruction is wide and many choose it. He still did knowing most would reject His free gift of eternal life.
Luke 6:31 - Do to others as you would have them do to you (NIV)
We must place ourselves in the shoes of the isolated, lonely, hopeless, and fearful person. Not trained medical professionals, what can we do? How would we want to be treated? These two questions are perfect to ask God and listen for his answer. All while seeking empowerment to obey through the Spirit.
As hard as it may be … it is nothing compared to death on the cross. We are called to lay down our lives and carry the cross daily. God does not ask anything so difficult the Spirit cannot provide through strength in Christ. Our obedience makes us like Jesus and not Jonah running away.
Pray, call, listen, be available and wait to see the Holy Spirit give what is needed in the very moment. No need to come armed with Jer. 29 or other scriptures of God never leaving. In a major depressive state it is extremely difficult to see and hear spiritually. God will lead in what to say and do as Christ is seen in lives standing before them. In doing this we may participate in saving a life.
Luke 12:12 - for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say (NIV)
Open Your Eyes - Keith Green
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