“But he [Elijah] himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:4).
In the pastorate, the fall is usually a busy season, which rolls into the joys and challenges of Christmas programs and activities. The holidays can also trigger some depression. Sometimes this is due to comparing our families and circumstances to the ideal, or maybe it’s due to exhaustion—physical and psychological.
Our devotional and biographical heritage reveals that burnout can also be an opportunity to discover–in a new and deeper way–how God’s strength can be perfected in our weakness. As the apostle Paul testified,
“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead…” (2 Cor. 1:8,9 emphasis added).
For more on the “not I, but Christ” illumination, see Hudson Taylor’s testimonial letter here.
For an article that gleans practical suggestions from the account of the prophet Elijah, see “When You’re a Pastor Who Suffers from Depression: What the story of Elijah (and psychological research) tells us about how to cope.” By Stephanie Dyrness Lobdell. It’s at the CT blog here: