Job was grieved and depressed that he lost his children, but he wasn’t hopeless. People feel hopeless in medical depression.
Job 3:11 Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?
Job’s first reaction to the grief was to fall down and pray to God (Job 1:20). After that Job wished he could die but wasn’t thinking of killing himself. With grief there’s depression but no hopelessness. Job’s grief felt heavier that the sand of the sea.
Job 6:1-4 But Job answered and said, Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set…in array against me.
Wishing you were dead is not the same as trying to commit suicide. In medical depression the neurotransmitters that regulate mood and emotions aren’t working right. People think of suicide and isolate themselves from people. They feel hopeless, sad, can’t focus, sleep a lot or too little, eat too much or too little. They feel worthless and that the world would be better off without them. People in depression feel like there’s no way out. We need to watch out for these symptoms in young people or others that are near to us so we can help them. Statistics show that 60% of high school students have thought about suicide. It isn’t just a case of discouragement or grief, but a medical condition.
It wouldn’t have done any good if someone told Job to snap out of it. Grief is something you have to go through. You can’t just snap your fingers and it goes away. We won’t know how to help someone going through grief unless we’ve been there. The difference between Job’s grief and medical depression was that he still put his hope and trust in God. When you’re discouraged or depressed by grief, don’t lose your hope and trust in God.
Job 13:15-16 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation…
Job 19:25-26 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
God’s word was more important to Job than food. He didn’t let go of his hope or trust in God, even though he was in a dark place. He knew God knew where he was and was confident God would bring him through. People feel like they’re in a dark tunnel and can’t find God. He knows where you are and will bring you through the places of dark discouragement. Job didn’t stay discouraged and he prayed for his friends who discouraged him. His “comforters” used the scriptures but not in a way that encouraged him. We should always use scriptures to encourage, not hurt those who are discouraged.
Job 23:8-12 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But he knoweth the way …when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither…gone back from the commandment…I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
Our only remedy when discouragement or grief tries to overwhelm us is to hope in God.
Psalm 42:9-11 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me..say daily…Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And…thou disquieted…? hope thou in God…praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Jesus is our high priest and was tempted in all ways like we are. He got discouraged and understands if we’re discouraged.
Hebrews 4:15-16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
When he fasted 40 days and was tempted by the devil, he was physically worn out. He was discouraged and needed help so the angels came to minister to him. An angel came to give him strength when he agonized about going to the cross.
Matthew 4:9-11 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Elijah got discouraged after having a great victory on Mt. Carmel. Many had turned to God after the fire from heaven consumed the sacrifice. He was disappointed because things didn’t turn out like he hoped. Not everyone turned to God though and Jezebel said she was going to kill him. Elijah ran away because he was afraid. He wished he could die, that God would take him. Elijah was feeling sorry for himself, felt depressed, and felt all alone. God never found fault with him, but he sent an angel to comfort Elijah – not to rebuke him or get mad at him. God sent an angel a second time because Elijah needed to eat and drink more. He needed strength for the journey and work God was sending him to do.
I Kings 19:3-10 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life…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 as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and…the word of the Lord came to him…What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord…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.
God gave Elijah work to do. God wants us to get busy, to not keep sitting still and feeling sorry for ourselves. Elijah got up and did what God asked him to do. Doing the work God gives us is how we’ll get out of discouragement.
I Kings 19:11-16 And he said, Go…stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice…said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord…because 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. And the Lord said…return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu…shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha…to be prophet in thy room.
God wants us to comfort others with the same comfort he has comforted us with. Our comfort isn’t just to stay with us but we’re to share it. Paul needed comfort because he got discouraged and was in despair. We all go through things where we need comforted because we’re discouraged, cast down, or in despair or grief.
II Corinthians 1:3-10 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)