A leader expects an attack of depression

Tue, 19 Jan 2016 Source: Dag Heward-Mills

Many times you will not have an ideal situation. But how many things are ideal? Many great leaders are destroyed by depression. A leader must remain balanced and not allow discouragement and depression to overwhelm him. Any kind of crisis can lead to discouragement and disillusionment. Repeated defeat leads to discouragement and discouragement leads to depression.

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

1 Samuel 30:6

Sometimes, the way out of difficulty is to choose the best of your bad options and to pursue it with the strength and zeal of someone who is pursuing a good thing even though it is a bad or unfortunate option. If your wife is dead, find a new wife and make a new life!

I remember the story of a pastor of a church who lost his wife. The couple had 4 daughters. The husband, the widower, could not recover from his sorrow and depression. He died a year later and was buried in the same cemetery, near his wife. At the funeral, the caretaker of the cemetery remarked, “I am not surprised that this man is dead. Over the past year he has visited this cemetery every day to cry over his wife’s grave.” Unfortunately, this man left behind four little daughters without father or mother. Which is better, one parent or no parent? Do not let your sorrows overwhelm you! Rise up and press ahead.

If you cannot be a full-time minister, be a lay minister and serve the Lord with all your heart. Maybe one day it will be possible for you to be in full-time ministry. Do not let loneliness, depression, disappointment and disillusionment overwhelm you. There are many dark days and many sad things in this life. You must rise up and not be overcome by depression.

Shaka Zulu

Shaka Zulu was a great African warrior who united many tribes and fought many successful campaigns in South Africa. In spite of his success as a warrior, he was affected by the loneliness and depression that afflicts many leaders. Indeed, Shaka Zulu, the famous South African warrior struggled with depression and despondency after the death of his mother.

Shaka the Zulu himself died relatively quickly after the death of his mother Nandi in October 1827 because of his strange and depressed behaviour. According to the records, after Shaka Zulu’s mother died, he ordered that no crops should be planted during the following year and that no milk was to be used by anyone. Meanwhile, milk was the basis of the Zulu diet at the time. In other words everyone was supposed to starve or fast because his mother had died.

He also ordered that any woman who became pregnant was to be killed along with her husband. Anyone who had had pleasure during his time of mourning was to be executed.

Shaka Zulu noticed that some people were not as sad as he was and ordered some seven thousand whom he felt were not sufficiently grief-stricken to be executed! Shaka Zulu did not restrict his depressive and erratic behaviour to human beings. He also ordered cows to be slaughtered so that their calves would know what losing a mother felt like. Obviously he was going mad in his loneliness and depression.

The depression of Shaka Zulu cost him his life. The leader of the Zulu tribe was clearly disliked and unpopular by the generalised murder he perpetrated when his mother died. Two of his half brothers conspired against him and assassinated him, dumping his body into a grain pit and covering his body with mud and stones.

You must see your wounds and problems as doors to ministry. Your pain and your wounds are the door to an effective ministry. If you have experienced any kind of darkness, remember that it may be the basis of your authority in that area.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction SO THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO COMFORT THOSE WHO ARE IN ANY AFFLICTION WITH THE COMFORT WITH WHICH WE OURSELVES ARE COMFORTED BY GOD.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NASB)

Remember that Jesus Christ is able to minister healing because of the wounds and stripes He received. Your wounds are the basis of your ministry. You minister out of what you have suffered and what you have been through. Paul explains why God comforts us! He shows us that your ministry is going to come out of your pain, your wounds and your experiences.

Columnist: Dag Heward-Mills