God provides Elijah a classic two-fold cure for depression. First, He told him to go and get busy! God had specific tasks in mind for the prophet. "Then the LORD said to him: 'Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill" (I Kings 19:15-17). Second, He told Elijah that he was not alone. "Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him" (19:18). Elijah had miscalculated big time! In thinking he was the only faithful one left, he was about 7000 times inaccurate. Do followers of Christ today sometimes make miscalculations of this sort?
Today we must not allow pessimism to defeat us.
It is tempting to fall prey to pessimism like Elijah's. Nationally, we are aware of the terrible sins of our country regarding murder, crime, immorality, fornication, divorce, greed, pornography, homosexuality, abortion, etc. And there are serious problems within the church as well (e.g., divisiveness, apathy, indifference, compromise with the world, religious error, etc.). Modern mass media seems to focus on the sordid, glorify all kinds of wickedness, and ridicule those who are pursuing righteousness. If we are not careful, we will spend our time running away in fear and feeling sorry for ourselves instead of being strong, trusting in the Lord, and being busy with His labor.
It is easy to point to undisciplined teenagers and conclude that all young people today are hopeless, but we know that such is not true. We need to look at the other side. There are young people in Jesus' church who do not fit that image and therefore give us hope! The church today does have many who are faithful.
When there is a crisis, it would seem that both sides are demonstrated. Some will loot and riot. Others will offer a helping hand and assist those in need. In the field of education there is discouragement over the watering down of academic standards and lack of godly morals being taught. Yet there are many godly teachers who care and students with high moral standards who still show good examples! And, although the general direction of our country ethically is frightful, there is still a significant resistance to immoral trends. There is much to give hope in the youth of the nation as well as in the church. Not all young people have been swayed by the materialism of parents who put work and things before the children. Not all young people have been taken in by the lust, greed, and rebellion that is glorified in movies and TV. Many young people do not buy the subjectivism and the entertainment focus in worship emphasized by denominationalism. Many young people do have faith in the Bible as God's word and final revelation to man. Although many things are not what they should be, there is still hope in Jesus' church! There are still many who have not bowed down to the wickedness of the present world.
Let us learn from God's instructions to Elijah. Let us busy ourselves with the Lord's work and not worry about how many others are doing likewise (as was the case with Elijah, there are likely more faithful ones than we think). Let's not run away in fear but do our best in the kingdom with bold courage and conviction. Let us encourage and train the next generation to rise up and take our place. If we perish serving God, then so be it, but may we never succumb to a depressed spirit over negative circumstances beyond our control. We are not alone and all is not lost!