I would love to say that my walk with the Lord has been one mountain top experience after another, but in honesty I have to tell you that the account of Elijah's restoration from despair, as he fled from Jezebel in 1 Kings 19, has been a source of life and hope to me on a number of occasions. He had defeated the prophets of Jezebel on Mount Carmel and seen fire come down from heaven in answer to his prayer, but then, totally exhausted and at his most vulnerable, his heart failed him, as Jezebel, seemingly as strong as ever sent him the message, 'Within a day you'll be as dead as my prophets'.
I once heard a preacher say that it’s easy for commentators sitting in the comfort of their oak-panelled studies to judge and criticise Elijah's loss of hope, and even describe him as a coward, but they probably haven't had to face 400 murderous pagan priests and a fickle crowd. In the account of the Lord’s treatment of Elijah we see the tender heart of a Father for a wounded son.
There can be times in our Christian lives when we too can feel like Elijah. It may not be as dramatic as his story, but perhaps we too have experienced being used by the Lord in power and then finding situations seemingly unchanged, or ourselves acting in a way that both discourages and dismays us. I have spoken to Christians, sincere followers of Jesus, who struggling with intense feelings of failure in such times have even found themselves echoing Elijah’s words, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
I’ve thought about the meaning of the words ‘burnt out’ – it’s when there is nothing left for a fire to consume, when all the fuel is gone, like running on empty. Elijah had given his all and then experienced the discouragement of everything seeming to be as dark as before. He needed rest and food because he was physically exhausted, but above everything he needed to hear the gentle whisper of the Lord bringing his focus back to how things really were – that He, God, was in control, not Jezebel and the powers of darkness.
Perhaps you need a fresh touch from the Lord today; perhaps your journey seems too great. Come as you are to your Heavenly Father – He’s not condemning you, but waiting to lift you up and give you fresh hope and vision for the future.
Prayer: Father, I acknowledge my need of You today. You are my hope and the lifter of my head. Please renew and fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit and lead me forward into all that You have purposed for my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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