I have a theory, formulated after reading about the prophet Elijah and recognizing that his reactions resonate in my own life. I call my theory The Elijah Syndrome.
1. Elijah had just called down massive fire from heaven in a spectacular top 10 biblical miracle (1 Kings 18:31-39). Win!
2. Elijah then asked Almighty God to send down rain from heaven after a three-year drought, and He did (1 Kings 18:41-45). Win-win!
3. Elijah girded up his loins (I always giggle at that part) and outran a dadgum horse on a 17-mile race through the desert (1 Kings 18:46). Triple crown!
4. But when wicked Queen Jezebel issued a death threat against him, Elijah fled for his life, isolated himself in the wilderness and begged God to let him die (1 Kings 19:3-4). Wait. What?
Elijah’s response: He was more afraid of one angry woman than 850 angry men (the prophets of Baal that were involved in Win No. 1). Guess we can’t blame him there. But instead of depending on God’s proven power, he caved to depression and feelings of worthlessness.
My conclusion: After experiencing a series of huge miracles straight from the hand of Almighty God, Elijah stalled, then totally crashed and burned. Maybe his strength was depleted after the emotional exhaustion and stress of all those miracles. Maybe he forgot to ungird his loins. We don’t know. We just know that after all that (God proving that He’s large and in charge), when nasty Jezebel checked in, our guy checked out.
Hence my theory, The Elijah Syndrome: Depression often follows great victory.
But whoa. Right after Elijah hit rock bottom, God showed him one of the biggest game-changers in the Bible: He speaks to us not through a mighty wind, or earthquake, or blazing fire, but in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13).
And in that still, small voice, He presented Elijah with a plan to move forward: a way out of his dark, depressing cave. A way to get help. A way out when he couldn’t see it before.
And He does the same for us, my friend. What is your personal experience with The Elijah Syndrome?