Weary to the Point of Death

8:24 AMHeather

Weary to the point of death.  Discouraged to the point of wishing your life was over.  Not an ounce of hope left to press on for another moment.  This rock bottom is a place all too familiar for many.  We hear of suicide attempts or deaths by suicide all too often.  Not something we often discuss.  But, let me assure you, it's nothing new.  In fact, this morning I felt drawn to 1 Kings 19, where I read that even one of God's own prophets had reached this all time low in his life.  Today, I believe I have a word for those of you facing these deep dark pits in life.  I am praying even as I write that God pours out a ray of hope through this blog post that pierces your heart.

Elijah.  As in God's prophet.  The one who had been fed by the ravens in the wilderness.  The one who declared to King Ahab that it would not rain for the next few years.  And it didn't.  The one who was fed by the widow who's handful of flour and oil miraculously fed herself, her son, and Elijah day after day after day.  The one who breathed life back into the widow's son when he died.  The one who trashed talked the prophets of Baal at the great fire lighting show down on Mount Carmel.  Do you remember that one?  450 prophets of Baal versus just Elijah.  And, Elijah gave us a great example of Biblical trash talk in 1 Kings 18 as he taunted that huge crowd of Baal prophets whose god would not light the wood for their sacrifice.  Not content to leave it at that,  Elijah showed off how big his God was by having the wood watered down not once--but three times.  And, God sure enough did show up big and light up that fire.  So, King Ahab took off in his chariot, and Elijah "tucked up his cloak in his belt and ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel" (1 Kings 18:46).  Yep, that miraculously fast marathon running, drought invoking, fire provoking, resurrecting prophet of God.

That same Elijah reached a point of weariness and hopelessness that he wished he was dead.  In the very next chapter of 1 Kings.  Although you probably never won a showdown with a crowd of Baal prophets, maybe you, too, have seen some big successes in life and experienced some mountain top highs.  News flash for you.  It doesn't make you immune to the despair and weariness that can bring you to the point of hopelessness.  If you find yourself in that pit and wonder how you reached that low, I have an encouraging word for you.  You're in good company in the scope of human history.  

And, I pray that Elijah's story that I share today may give you enough gumption to just put one foot in front of another for the next day.  As Elijah lay down to hopefully never wake up, an angel came to him and touched him.  She said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you" (1 Kings 19:7).   Can I just encourage you, in your darkness, to do the same?  Get up and eat.  For this journey of life may feel like too much for you.  You see, you need the Bread of the Word right now.  You need the Living Water.  This bread and water will sustain you, it will strengthen you.  Lay it all out for God in honest prayer, and snatch a word of Scripture that you can meditate on to just find solace and food for your soul. 

The next part is the hard part.  In your weariness, in your darkness, we find Elijah pointing out what to do next.  Here it is.  Be still.  Quit striving.  Quit struggling.  Quit resisting.  In our valley experiences, we want God to show up big and strong and mighty and without a doubt.  We want that massive display of his strength and his power.  We want an earth shattering experience to break up the hard places in our life.  And, we groan and moan when it doesn't happen.  We might even curse a God who is capable, yet refuses to give us the huge encounter we think we need. We want the flashy, loud huge impression from our God.

Surely, Elijah did, too.  He was done.  The threat on his life from Ahab's wife, Jezebel, proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back.  And the prophet's resolve was broken.  He lay under a tree, pleading for his life to be over.  But, God had other plans.  And, so, the angel provided food and water to give him strength.  And, then God told Elijah, "Go and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by" (1 Kings 19:11).

I've been in places in my life where I longed for such an audible promise!  I just begged for God to show up.  We live in a culture where we want things supersized and magnificent and awe inspiring.   Surely, Elijah had similar expectations.

But God was not in the great and powerful wind that tore mountains apart and shattered rocks.  (verse 11)

And God was not in the earthquake.  No earth shattering revelation here.  (verse 12).

And, God was not in the fire, showing flashy and bright. (verse 13).

Nope.  We may long for God to be all these wondrous things in our darkness.  But, the truth is God came in a gentle whisper.  No doubt, God does show up in mighty huge displays of his great power.  After all--hadn't he rained down fire from heaven in the prophet showdown just one chapter before?  But, sometimes, in our loud weeping and gnashing and anger and frustration, God intends to come to us in a gentle whisper.  

And, if we can quiet ourselves and be still, we will encounter him there.  We won't miss a thing.  Elijah was prepared.  He was strengthened and hydrated, and he was ready to respond and meet God in whatever way God chose to reveal Himself and show up.  There, God revealed his plan and his provision for Elijah (verses 15-18).  And, there, Elijah was ready to hear and to obey.

Glimpse of GRACE:  The storms of life are inevitable.  And, no matter how strong our faith walk or the mountain top experiences we've encountered with God, we can fall to the same point of despair as Elijah.  We can wish to lie down and never wake up.  Be encouraged by Elijah's example.  Find a way to eat of the Bread of his Word and drink in the Living Water.  And, then be ready for however God chooses to reveal himself in your life.  It could be earth shattering revelations or great and powerful winds of change.  Or, it might be in just a gentle whisper that reminds you that He's never left you.  You will need to still yourself and be prepared either way.  Listen for the gentle whispers, and hear them as the God of the Universe reminding you of his faithfulness to walk every road with you.  It might just be through a song that brings a smile.  Or a Scripture that lightens your heart a little.  Or a kind word aptly spoken.  These are the gentle whispers of your Heavenly Father reminding you that you are His child.  And, he will always show up.  In his own way.

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