The Depression after the Victory

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”     -1 Kings 19:4

In my tradition, we often malign the prophet Elijah for his extraordinary change in disposition. He went from man of faith to man of fear and from calling down fire from heaven to fleeing from the fire of persecution. Often times people wants their heroes to demonstrate unshakeable conviction and perfect faith no matter the circumstances. It’s the price that leaders pay.

The reality is that no matter who we are or what we accomplish, every person is human and is susceptible to our own humanity. Yesterday’s victories are unable to always sustain great faith today.

Elijah fell into profound discouragement and fatigue after having miraculously defeating the prophets of Baal in extraordinary fashion (1 Kings 18:1-40) and then praying for rainstorm (1 Kings 18:41-46). After a great series of victories, he falls into such a great depression that he desires death.

If you are in ministry, you understand that Elijah is not dramatizing. The “depression after the victory” is a very real consequence of being active in the Kingdom. If you haven’t desired to quit ministry on a Monday morning, chances are that you will soon—especially after moments of great physical and spiritual exertion.

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