Elijah yielded to self-pity for a time and fled to Horeb.
1 Kings 19:4-5
He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, Lord, " he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
Asaph, the psalmist, also fell into the sin of self-pity for a time.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure; in vain I have washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.
Jonah became angry and was filled with self-pity, for which God rebuked him.
"Now, O Lord, take my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." But the Lord replied, "Have you any right to be angry?"
Without going into each mans situation and the reasons behind their self-pity, we can see that they all felt sorry for themselves and felt the distress of what they were going through. Maybe you are trying your best to do what you feel God would have you do yet it seems that even though you live for him and call him Lord of your life, it doesn't seem to matter much. Evil people still have it better and suffer less it seems. As Elijah did in his frustration, sometimes we just want to give up. Have you ever felt that way? You just want to say... "I've had enough." and then all you want to do is lay down and sleep. Both Elijah and Jonah got to the point they felt they would be better off dead! That's a tough place to be isn't it? The point to where we feel we have nothing left, it's over, life is ruined. Or is it? The answer of course is always... NO. Life is not over and because of our self-pity we just can't see it anymore. Self-pity crushes the spirit, but a person that is happy has a cheerful face and sees things differently. We have to figure out how to turn from self-pity or we can be destroyed by it.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
So how do we pull ourselves out of this depression or self-pity that has preoccupied our mind? Well we can start with the same question that God asked of Jonah. "Do you have any right to be angry?" I mean in the total scheme of things with all that God had done for us, the eternal life and peace he has given us as his children, do we really have any right to allow the circumstances of our day to allow us to fall into this sin of self-pity? We shouldn't, but we do because we are focused on self. That's the key problem with self-pity. We're focused on ourselves and our circumstances. There is good news however! The Lord directs us to a cure for self-pity. I'll leave you with Psalms 37. The Lord wants you to hear his words of comfort and wisdom through this pslam of David. May these verses encourage you and turn you from self-pity.
Psalm 37 (A psalm of David.)
(1) Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. (2) For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither. (3) Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. (4) Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
(5) Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. (6) He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
(7) Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. (8) Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper- it only leads to harm. (9) For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.
(10) Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone. (11) The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity. (12) The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. (13) But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.
(14) The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right. (15) But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
(16) It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. (17) For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly.
(18) Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. (19) They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.
(20) But the wicked will die. The Lord’s enemies are like flowers in a field—they will disappear like smoke. (21) The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers. (22) Those the Lord blesses will possess the land, but those he curses will die.
(23) The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (24) Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
(25) Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. (26) The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing.
(27) Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever. (28) For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die. (29) The godly will possess the land and will live there forever.
(30) The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong. (31) They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from his path.
(32) The wicked wait in ambush for the godly, looking for an excuse to kill them. (33) But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.
(34) Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.
(35) I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil. (36) But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
(37) Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace. (38) But the rebellious will be destroyed; they have no future.
(39) The Lord rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble. (40) The Lord helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him.