1 kings 19:4 (KJV)
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, it is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
And then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all- to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life- I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!”
I wrote sometimes ago about being open to God with our desires, telling Him about the available options, the ones we really desire, but most importantly acknowledging that we trust His will.
But then, if we can be open to God about our desires, can we also be open to God about our weaknesses, about our loneliness or about our depression?
A lot of times, I’ve heard preaching about not complaining to God, ‘just tell God what you want Him to do for you, don’t come to God and start lamenting’, and things like that.
But then, isn’t that what Elijah did in the scripture above? Now, we have to understand that this is ELIJAH, the man that calls down fire at will, the one that says it won’t rain unless I say so, the one that slew hundreds of prophets at once.
This is the same guy saying he was tired of his life and wants to die. Like seriously, are you kidding me right now? He has all that portfolio up his sleeves and still wants to die? How come?
Now, you might want to say God had forsaken him, and he had lived a bad life, but let’s check the previous chapter in that scripture (1 Kings 18), that was where he called down fire. If God had forsaken him, how would he have done that?
Just imagine if you were the one that called fire down this minute, I mean you would be feeling high now, the whole social media will see pictures and all. Right?
But, this guy that did all that is depressed, having suicidal thoughts, claiming to be tired of his life and wants to throw in the towel, he already threw in the towel.
Guess what happened next?
Yea, you thought God would have helped him out by just killing the ungrateful guy, right? Nah, God actually came with jollof rice and chicken (chai). Well, not literal jollof rice, but God came with food for him. God didn’t fault him for being weak when he needed to be strong. Can you imagine?
So, I think it is cool to be open with God about our weaknesses, it is okay to tell God, I’m tired, He won’t strike you dead, He should have done that with Elijah, but He didn’t.
There are certain times in our lives that we need people to open up to about our weaknesses, people we can be real with about what we’re actually going through, people that won’t judge us for being weak.
Jesus, our master Himself was open with His closest disciples at a point, He told them how scared He was (Matthew 26:38), but those guys probably thought, ‘how can you be scared when you’re the one to encourage us? You’ve started with your jokes, abi’, we hear that a lot too, right? He left them and went to His Father, that was what Elijah also did, He went to the One who called Him when there was no friend he could open up to.
I got a message from U-report saying, about 20-30% of Nigerians are depressed. Statistics in the US shows that at least 84 men (not counting women) commit suicide in a week. Doing the math, that’s like 12 men in a day and 1 man in 2 hours on the average; all because of depression. And I think it is due to the fact that they do not have people to open up to, they are probably surrounded with friends and families who judge them for being weak, church tells them not to complain to God; they just bottle it up, trying so hard to be strong indeed, but when they can’t take it anymore, they look for the ‘easy’ way out- suicide!
If you can’t open up to the people around you, you should be able to go to God, He understands that you can’t be the strong guy all the time, He knows what you’re facing. He will come with your own jollof rice and chicken, or pounded yam and egusi, or domino’s pizza and cold stone ice cream, however you like it.
The point is, God won’t criticize you for being weak. He already said. ‘come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden (overwhelmed), and I will give you rest- Matthew 11:28.
It is okay to be weak, it is okay to go to God and say, Lord, I’m tired, I just can’t do this anymore.
I love and care too much, people take me for granted, Lord. I’m tired!
I don’t love and care, they say I’m heartless, I’m tired, Lord!
I give too much; I get broke
I don’t give, they say I’m stingy, Lord, I’m tired!
I’m tired of being the leader when deep down, I’m confused.
I’m tired of being the go to guy, when I also need who to go to.
I’m tired of people looking up to me, when I really need who to look up to right now.
I mean, it is okay to wake up in the middle of the night and cry your heart out to God, He understands.
You can’t be forming strong guy in front of your friends, and still be forming hard guy in the presence of God.
Open up to God and watch Him provide you with grace that gives strength and encouragement.
I pray God will send the right people to encourage all those that are depressed.