I had begun suffering with panic attacks and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when I was 20 years old. This was the condition that brought me to my knees and straight to God. I suffered off and on for 14 years with the disorders. During the last 3 years before I was delivered it actually controlled my life and basically immobilized me. Although at the time I didn’t realize I had CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome coupled with PTSD and horrible side effects from prescription medications, not to mention an extreme case of spiritual warfare all wrapped up into one. I call it, as many do, the “dark soul night”. A period of time where God allows complete brokenness in your life to sift out all that needs sifted in order to truly and humbly serve Him.
I believe many times as Christians we are made to believe that God is angry with us when we get in a state of Anxiety or Depression. I remember just wondering why and how as a Christian could this be happening to me. God showed me something one day when I was asking Him if He was mad at me.
Elijah, Gods great prophet just defeated 450 prophets of Baal. Baal was a false god set up for worship during that time. Elijah did mighty work for God, He gave God his whole life in serving Him. After Elijah killed the 450 prophets of Baal, ONE woman came along and threatened his life. That must have been one powerful woman to scare a man who just single handedly wiped out 450 men. She was Queen Jezebel; she is a whole story in herself. Anyways, Elijah became fearful and fled into the wilderness.
He became depressed, anxious, and even suicidal for he wanted his life to just end! This is my favorite part: How did God respond to such a situation? Here is Gods great prophet, a servant of the Lord, known in all the land to serve the Most High God and he is depressed, suicidal, and anxious. Did God respond in anger? Did God reprimand him saying he was in sin? Did God punish him for his lack of faith? Did God remove him for doing His work? NO!!!!!!
God sent two angels to him. Elijah came out of his tent to find warm cakes sitting on the fire, fresh cold water to drink. Picture yourself in this state of mind, and here are 2 comforting angels with warm delicious cakes cooking on an open fire, a cold refreshing glass of water straight from Gods land. God loved him out of his depression, God provided his needs, God provided comfort to see him through. Wait, what else did God do? He trusted and loved Elijah right where he was and even handed him 3 new assignments to fulfill. How great is Our God, full of mercy and grace. I am so glad He doesn’t treat us the way people treat each other; and sadly so often inside what is supposed to be the safest place; church!
Oh Christian; we can learn so much from God and Elijah here. When you see a brother or sister suffering with anxiety or depression don’t judge them, don’t assume they must have hidden sin in their life, don’t presume anything. GO and Comfort them, try and supply their needs. Go sing to them, pray with them, talk to them, and intercede for them. There are often many things that cause our bodies to go into a depression or anxiety state. Be a part of the solution in figuring out what that cause may be. My body was in shock from all the trauma, the medications where causing it to become worse, and along with the spiritual warfare I had become extremely overloaded and depressed because I didn’t understand what was going on and why. Not to mention the CFS was completely shutting my body down which only made things worse. This was one of the darkest times of my life, the loneliest time but also the greatest time because I learned more about God during that time in my life than ever before. He truly became my rock, my life, my breath, my healer, my best friend, my King, my all in all.
It was a time that God used to reveal many truths to me that I had not knew before. He used this time to show me how broken the body of Christ is and why. He used that time to develop character in me and Christlikeness. He trained in me humility and compassion. Although they were the darkest times, many days I didn’t even think I would live another day, I wasn’t sure I could live another day, BUT GOD never gave up on me. He never left me or forsook me.
Please remember we are called to bare one another’s burdens. Don’t gossip about people talk to God and pray for them. Ask God what can you do to help them? I just go a sit and allow them to talk for as long as they need too. The Holy Spirit will guide me into how to minister to them biblically. He will show me many times the underlying issues. Sometimes it’s a sin issue but many times it’s a medical or environmental issue. Many times it’s a poor understanding of who God is and who we are biblically. But no matter what it is, we have the answer and that is Christ and Him crucified. However in order to minister that fact effectively we must minister it in Love!
I have come a long way since them dark days; I also have a long way to go. My passion today is to help others see the real Jesus; the Jesus of the bible because when they encounter HIM, they will forever be transformed. It takes time, we must not give up on people, continue to love them and minister to them. God doesn’t create microwave Christians, He develops crock-pot Christians. We take a life time to develop but in the end it’s worth it!
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Amy Ross~ Bond-servant of Jesus Christ