Believers in Christ don’t have to wait for the next big miracle to experience the Presence of God. In the ordinary and the unexpected, His peace and power beckon us into a life where it’s possible to experience joy and wonder in the milestones and the mundane. The same Holy Spirit who rains fire from heaven also speaks in gentle whispers. This is especially significant for those suffering from loneliness and depression.
The Old Testament prophet, Elijah, can attest to the fact that God can do grand showdowns, as he defeated the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. A few chapters later, we read that God made Himself known to the same man, not in a torrential wind, earthquake, or fire as He had done on a second mountain top, but rather in a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12).
As we walk through various adventures in his story, we notice times when Elijah felt abandoned, called out to do a great work, yet burdened by loneliness and depression. Though he experienced despair, God reminded Elijah that he wasn’t alone. Not only was the Almighty present, but others were in the same fight as the prophet, and being sent to support and encourage him, though he couldn’t see it.
Like Elijah, our history may have been peppered with moments of brilliance and glory. Strolling through our memories stirs nostalgia for the glittery past, a different life, causing us to resent instead of savor the life we now have.
We may ruminate over an assortment of regrets and rewards, comparing the lows of the present with the highs of prior seasons. Between mountaintops and miracles, we find ourselves discontented and depressed, grieving what we’ve lost and mourning what we feel we missed.
Our life circumstances don’t eclipse God’s faithfulness, even in times when we are experiencing severe emotional and mental distress. At times we feel battered by the symptoms that affect our appetite, disrupt our sleep cycle, and impact our mood. We can feel controlled by diagnosis or struggles as if depression is steering our lives.
Encouragement for overcoming loneliness and depression.
It is then that we need to surrender it all to the Lord, embracing the intercession of the Holy Spirit who counsels us and prays our needs before the Father. Furthermore, we need practical follow-up, to minister to our mental and emotional needs. Wise, trained, and empathetic counselors can help and offer insight to help us overcome loneliness and depression.
While we may have legitimate heart matters that need our attention, we have a choice in how we will live. We can embrace whom God wants to be for us now and come forward into the present.
Though the Father does not associate us with mediocrity, our Christian walk won’t always be punctuated with entertaining light shows. Supernatural does not always showcase on a performance stage, but rather shows up in the dark places we’d rather avoid.
There will be many moments when life is difficult, which is challenging to accept. It can, however, be navigated with spiritual, emotional, and social support and skills for coping.
Life can be tough, and navigating loneliness amidst persecution or feeling misunderstood does not help. None of this stops God from being Almighty and Everlasting Father. Because He never changes, we can rely on His Word to support our response to depression.
Let’s remember that on our most difficult day, we don’t shrink back from what feels like death because we have triumphed by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). Jesus did the hardest part, but Christ’s victory empowers us to shift our world by meditating and speaking the Truth of the Scripture.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalms 121:1-2, NIV
Elijah’s story reveals where God offered comfort, correction, and community. The Father not only ministered to Elijah’s depressed mental and emotional state, but He also addressed his loneliness. Despite persecution and death threats by the reigning queen Jezebel, the Father sent an angel to feed him in the wilderness. However, he outlived the time frame in which she had vowed to kill him.
Our enemies may make threats, but in looking around, we can discern the presence of angels and the protection of God that encircles us amidst danger.
The Bible describes Elijah as a man who is much like us in our modern times (James 5:17). Even as the Lord came to his aid, He is willing to do the same for us in our present challenges. God wants to bridge our past with our future, highlighting our present as the place where He wants us to embrace gratitude and faith-filled reliance on Him for right-now needs.
God brought Elijah’s vision back into alignment with his kingdom assignment. He then directed the prophet’s path to encounter the human help in Elisha, his successor, that was needed along his path to walk out the next chapter of purpose.
The I AM fills our blanks, furnishing us with what we didn’t realize we needed, just as He did with Elijah. We don’t always see it when our eyes settle on external appearances, displacing our focus from Jesus.
Much of what we want to see accomplished in our lives, including the dreams and desires that God has woven into the core of our being, require partnership, with the Holy Spirit. Although He answers our core need for belonging in Himself, He also connects us with people and fortifies us in purpose to supplement those areas. He provides and equips us with a safe community where we can engage interdependently, and be mutually blessed as God joins us.
Often, we are so future-focused that we miss seeing God in the present. It’s essential to have vision because we stagnate and die without it. However, there is present-day goodness to rejoice in, even as we walk forward into the future. As we lift our heads, we must recognize the King of Glory is here. He enters our situation, not just to change it, but to change us in the process.
As we look forward in hope, we must train our minds to embrace the tranquility found in the peace and presence of God. Recalibrating with Him in stillness affirms our value and confirms the purpose assigned to our lives.
In moments of rest, we can better see, hear, and perceive where the Holy Spirit is redirecting our attention to go with Him into the next faith-filled step. In periodic resets, the Holy Spirit reveals what would have otherwise remained hidden. He provides the insight needed to prepare for coming whirlwinds, yet stabilizes us in times when it only appears that He is doing nothing.
Sometimes it seems like we will never get to the place that God has ordained for us. Loneliness feels permanent, and depression feels like an inescapable trap. Our present attitude and location are equally as important as the expected end (Jeremiah 29:11). In fact, it’s the development of what happens in secret and still places that transforms us, so we don’t just anticipate what may come in our earthly life.
All that we do has an eternal impact, but it begins in our hearts and minds. This is where we continue leaning on the Lord and looking to Him to be the Person of our Joy and everlasting Hope.
Wherever you are in a battle with loneliness or even depression, remember that you are not alone. That may seem difficult to embrace, especially if you have experienced persecution in your current season.
Like Elijah, God hears and sees, and has likely been reaching for you in the still and small whispers. Use the next few moments to search for a counselor on this site to support you with ways to address loneliness and work through depression. There is hope and help here.
“Sitting by the Window”, courtesy of Abbat1, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Alone in a Crowd”, Courtesy of Graehawk, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Lonely Oak”, Courtesy of Mbll, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Woman at Sunset”, Courtesy of Goodinteractive, Pixabay.com, CC0 License