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It's natural for people to become depressed now and then, but why do we STAY depressed for so long? Do you ever feel like you are the only one trying to live a Christian life? All those around you seem to be prospering without God in their lives while you are just struggling along. You get to feeling sorry for yourself and it just takes all the joy of living away. That's what happened to Elijah.

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SCRIPTURE READING: I KINGS 19:1-18

I KINGS 19: (4)"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." (9 & 10) "And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

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In I Kings 19 we are told the story of how Elijah was feeling so sorry for himself that he went a day's journey into the wilderness and sat down under a juniper tree. There he asked the Lord to take away his life. Elijah was one of the greatest prophets in the Bible, yet he despaired because he thought he was the only one left who was serving God. God told Elijah to go back the way he had come and He would introduce him to someone who was worthy to take his place. Soon after Elijah met his successor, he was carried away to be with God. What a beautiful story of an understanding, compassionate God! And how encouraging to those of us who also allow ourselves to get down in the valley of despair; sometimes over something we can't even remember! I think sometimes God must allow us to get in the valley so we will return to Him. He knows when you are hurting and He knows when you need a valley to become refreshed in. Although He may let you walk into a valley, He will not leave you there alone! He may not take you away to heaven in a whirlwind just yet either, but at least we know if we turn to Him he will give us peace and comfort us and bring us out of our depression.

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I KINGS 19:18 "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him."

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Elijah had let himself become discouraged because he felt he was alone in serving God. God assured Elijah that there were still seven thousand people left in Israel who had not bowed unto Baal. It is comforting to know that we are not alone; even when we are in the valley.

Next time you start feeling alone and forsaken, or just down and depressed write down how you are feeling. Address this letter to God and just open up and tell him why you feel as you do. Then read your letter aloud. Many times, our fears and problems are not as bad as they seem when put on paper. Try to figure out what or who caused you to become depressed in the first place. Then see if there is something you can do about it! Face your depression head on and you just may find peace in your valley instead of despair!

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VALLEY OF DEPRESSION

From my despair and depression,
From the valley where I am,
I cry for the Lord to help me
And He reaches down His hand.

What put me in this valley?
I don't know why or who.
Though dark clouds now surround me,
The Son is breaking through!

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