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The Valley of Depression and Its Many Dangers

After the great victory at the summit of Carmel, Elijah immediately descended into the valley of Jezreel (I Kings 19). It was here that he learned of Jezebel’s fury-filled plot to murder the prophet of God. Afraid for his life Elijah flees into the wilderness and begs for God to kill him. Amazing that just days before Elijah had defeated 450 False Prophets by calling fire down from heaven and consuming the burnt offering upon the altar. In that one act he had sparked a revival in Israel that would have ramifications for decades to come. Through the power of God, he had won! He had turned the people toward God, defeated the enemy, and accomplished his mission. But now we find him here, sitting under the knotted timber of a juniper tree, 20 miles away from the closest village, begging to die.

This Sunday at Southern Hills I will be teaching on the way out of the valley of depression, but here I would like to share with you the dangers of staying in this valley.

No One Knows You’re There
Anyone who lives in a desert can tell you that it is stupid to go exploring in the wilderness alone. Death is nearly certain if you are all alone. Elijah had left his servant in Beersheba, 20 miles north of his juniper tree and now found himself utterly alone. Often those who struggle with depression feel guilty about their condition and seek the solace of solitude. They tell no one. Instead of finding a confidant that can help them bear this burden they will “put on a happy face” and fake their enthusiasm for life. This loneliness perpetuates the problem.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him,two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

You Begin to Believe the Lie
The serpent is a slimy, cold-blooded thing with an acute ability lie. He has honed this particular skill since his early days in the Garden of Eden. Eve believed him when he said that nothing would happen if she ate the fruit. Cain believed him when he said that Able was arrogant and needed to be taught a lesson. Moses believed the lie that he could control his anger. David was convinced that one elongated look at Bathsheba wouldn’t change a thing. All along the way, with subtly, the serpent has slipped into the background of every life. Oh that Adam would’ve been there to protect his wife, that Eve could have stopped her son, that Aaron could have talked with his brother, that Nathan could have talked with the King. Yet, in the loneliness of depression you are more likely to believe the lie of Satan and fall into sin.

John 8:44 When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Your Dilemma is Exaggerated
Depression takes a simple problem and makes it appear impossible. Take Elijah for example. He told the Lord that he was the only one left who really cared about God. All others had forsaken the Lord and He… Alone… was still serving God. God had to kindly remind Elijah that there were still 7,000 others who, like Elijah, still loved the Lord. If you are struggling with depression you must understand that your situation is not as bad as you may think it is. There is still a sun that is shining, rain that is falling and a God in heaven who loves you.


My Grandfather used to say, “God will never use a discouraged preacher.” I’ve thought of that statement hundreds of times over the past 9 years. What was my grandfather trying to say? When we become discouraged we focus inward, when we focus inward we are not focused on others and therefore, unusable. Elijah was unable to be used by God as long as he wasted away in the Valley of Depression. To be used by God we need to get through this difficulty and rise up once again to be the person God has created us to be.

II Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be…meet for the master’s use.

But How do I get out? How do I get back on top of the mountain? Come this Sunday to here the 2nd sermon in our series: Mountaintops. I will be sharing the 4 steps to leaving the valley of depression.

Please Comment Below:

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  • Reply
    Lita Bonsignori
    August 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I’m very glad for this message because at one point or another I think every human being has a moment or moments where depression sneaks in….old age, hormones, tragedy, doubt, etc. can play with the human psyche (including Satan). Thankful for a pastor who reaches people where they live and addresses today’s issues!

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      August 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Thanks Lita for the encouragement. The sermon is ready to go and I can’t wait to share what God has put upon my heart.

  • Reply
    Melonie schang
    August 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you pastor and can’t wait for Sunday !

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      August 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Me too Mel. We sure are thankful for you and Tim! Be in prayer for this sunday.

  • Reply
    Linette Winsler
    August 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I love what you have said. So looking forward to Sunday’s message

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      August 9, 2013 at 10:01 am

      It’s something we don’t like to talk about, isn’t it? But depression can strike anyone at anytime. So, how do we deal with it?

  • Reply
    kenny
    August 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    This has been a illness I’ve struggled four some time now. Depression can be difficult to overcome. Having a network of family and friends who are willing to hear you can help immensely. who ever suffers from this illness never likes to share their “in the moment struggle”, keeping these feeling in can do more damage than good. The devil sweeps in on the weak, making it seem ok that you can do it alone, possibly taking you down the road to suicide, an ugly road I’d rather not take… No matter how down and out you may feel, pick up the phone and speak to someone who was there or ask for prayers like I did on Facebook, unusual for me to share such thoughts with folks on Facebook, but this is my new family, I’d rather take advice from my Christian family than my unsaved relatives.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      August 9, 2013 at 10:04 am

      Kenny, You bring up a ver valid point. Surrounding yourself with people who love you and care about you. This is what the church is to be. Though we are all imperfect and have our own issues, we have experienced the forgiveness of God and are therefore uniquely qualified to understand forgiveness and grace. This is why the church is so special. It is to be a place that people can come and experience grace, love and forgiveness of sin.

  • Reply
    Rosalinda
    August 9, 2013 at 10:01 am

    “Hit the nail right on the head”- It’s so true. When you isolate yourself from the ones who care about you then you give room for satan to start working his lies into your life. It’s his specialty. But when you surround yourself w other believers, then you have a support group a Godly network of positive influences to encourage and pray for you and with you.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      August 9, 2013 at 10:07 am

      Rosalinda, that is why I love being at Southern Hills Baptist Church! Thankful for your wonderful thought!

  • Reply
    James Pfeiffer
    August 9, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I used to pride myself for my “Lone Ranger-ness”…problem with that is being the Lone Ranger only works in movies and even he had Tonto…nobody can go it alone forever especially when you’re going through trials….I’ve tried it, it never works!

    A relationship with Jesus and fellowship with other Christians is necessary to stay strong.

    Great article Pastor –

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      August 9, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      James – Loved the Lone Ranger illustration! I totally agree.

  • Reply
    Taylor Hershberger
    August 13, 2013 at 8:37 am

    “When we become discouraged we focus inward, when we focus inward we are not focused on others and therefore, unusable.”

    This was a potent thought for me. I believe that bitterness and depression are cousins. After a perceived violation of “rights”, it becomes all too easy to focus on how to right the perceived wrong. In a similar way to depression, the thoughts turn inward and the focus is on our own version of justice, rather than other people around us.

    • Reply
      Joshua Teis
      August 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      Great point Taylor! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Edify Hub
    August 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

    You have asked some great questions in this post, Pastor Teis. You referred to your then-upcoming Sunday Sermon for answers, and four steps out of the valley. Do you have those answers or that sermon available on-line somewhere we can link to?

    –Steve Dwire for Edify Hub, LLC

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