This is a great chapter to read to understand how God deals with depression and overwhelming fear.
Even in our modern-day society and all the health information we possess, people in the church often deal with overwhelming fear and depression wrongly. Some people will say "Suck it up." Others will coddle a person, helping them stay a victim. Still others will condemn someone who is dealing with paralyzing inner conflict.
God does none of these things. Matthew 5:48 says: Therefore you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
We are to take our cues for our behavior and approach to hurting people from God.
In this chapter Elijah is running scared because Jezebel, the king's wife, has threatened to have him killed. Now, not every situation is the same so God's methods are different for every person, but He never condemns, never coddles, never is cruel.
What does He do for Elijah?
He doesn't stop him from running. He lets him run awhile.
Then, when Elijah stops the initial panic, God has his angel meet Elijah's physical needs twice. Twice God provides food and water for Elijah. The second time the angel wakes him up, gives him the food and acknowledges the journey is too much for him.
For the next 40 days and night Elijah travels to Horeb, the mountain of God.
Notice, God gives Elijah time.
Once Elijah is at the mountain of God, God asks him, "What are you doing here Elijah?"
God already knew but Elijah needed to verbalize it. He needed to give voice to the fear that was causing him to be so depressed and wanting to die (earlier in the chapter he is suicidal). He also voices his perspective on the situation.
God doesn't at this time tell Elijah he's wrong. He just gives him instructions. He tells him to "stand on the mountain before the LORD."
Then, Elijah sees "a great and strong wind" that was so strong that it was breaking rocks on the mountain. Then, an earthquake came. And then there was a fire.
In all these God wasn't in them.
And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. And it came about when Elijah heard it, then he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
I'm not sure why God showed all that power before speaking to Elijah in the gentle blowing. Maybe Elijah was expecting to be smited down because he succumbed to fear and God had to show him that wasn't how God operates. God doesn't pick on the vulnerable.
Instead, God asked him again what he was doing. Again, Elijah needed to voice what was inside.
God responds first by giving him ministry instructions, what he was to do for the LORD now. THis showed Elijah God hadn't given up on him. God didn't see this bump in the road as anything but a small distraction. Elijah was still God's servant and His voice to the people.
And after this God tells Elijah facts that prove Elijah isn't alone.There are indeed others who are serving God.
God helps us see things rightly. Our emotions are gifts but sometimes they can really mess us up when they control us and send us off on some wild tangent not based in truth.