It’s amazing how after a great victory, one can get so depressed. It happens to us, and it definitely happened to Elijah. Right after his great victory over the prophets of Baal, Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, threatened Elijah’s life, and filled with fear, Elijah ran. Exhausted, he finally collapsed under a tree and said to God, “I want to die.” How can we suffer such a great defeat after such a great victory? We can suffer depression and defeat when we lose perspective. How does that happen? First, we forget we’re in a spiritual war. Whenever we do something for God’s kingdom, the enemy will take notice. Satan will not just leave us alone to do damage to his own kingdom. He will attack. It may be through people; it may be through circumstances. We cannot just expect that things will go smoothly for the rest of our lives just because we won a victory. On the contrary, many times it becomes much harder. That’s why Paul wrote,
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:11-13)
Second, we can lose perspective when we are physically and mentally tired. As exhilarating as the experience on Mount Carmel was, it had to be draining for Elijah. And then to hear that there was a price on his head put fear in his heart, causing him to run and making him even more tired. I believe that’s why God sent the angel with food and allowed Elijah to rest before confronting him. It would have been impossible to get through to and encourage Elijah had he remained weakened physically and mentally.
Third, we lose perspective when we are focused on ourselves. Elijah was basically throwing a pity party that day. “I’m all alone. I’m the only prophet of God left. I’m no better than any of my forefathers. Nothing I did accomplished anything.” “I, I, I, I, I.” Everything, was focused on himself. And when we do that, we lose perspective.
What do we do when lose perspective? Practically speaking, make sure you’re mentally and physically rested. That alone can do wonders. But beyond that, put your eyes on God. Seek his face and stop throwing pity parties. Rather, as Paul said, put on the full armor of God, and start doing his will again. One preacher I heard noted that there is no armor for the back, only the front. We need to be moving forward, doing what God has asked. If we’re retreating and wallowing in our own little pity parties, we’re simply asking for spiritual arrows in our derriere.
How about you? Have you lost perspective? As the old song goes:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of his glory and grace.