So we’ve talked about Elijah’s journey through the draught, the brook, the widow and the showdown with the false prohets.The rain has begun again and there are posters all over town that Jezebel is going to kill Elijah. Better than any reality TV. And even after all this God movement, Elijah is scared and pooped.
Is that okay? I mean do you ever feel like it is Un-Christian to be afraid and need a break? I talk to a lot of people, including myself, who have this spiritual notion that if you are “rightly filled with God” you will never get scared or weary. Or if you do, you’d better not admit it. Lord knows, there are plenty of scriptures that charge us to “press on” no matter what. Here are a few:
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galations 6:9
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize….”Phillipians 3:13-14
These are all 100% true. And on the right day these verses really strengthen me (and you). But our fear and fatigue is 100% true too. And on the wrong day, these verses just make us feel more afraid, tired and alone. However, if we look at Elijah’s story a little bit differently, we might see God a little differently too. Much writing on this part of Elijah’s story focuses on Elijah. We despise his weakness. Maybe because it reveals our own.
But like most of the Bible, this story is not about the frail human, but the loving God who reached down and comforted His son. Go back and look at the passage again:
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. 1 Kings 19: 5-7
Why did God do that?
The angel touched him. He “came back a second time.” He fed Elijah. He gave him water to drink. He let Elijah sleep. He woke him up. Picture a mother or father standing over the bed of sick child. Watching, waiting, hoping praying for restoration. Again, why did God do that?
I don’t think for one minute that God was disappointed in Elijah. I don’t think He scorned or rebuked him. For sure I don’t think He despised Elijah’s fear or weakness. That is what we do, perhaps. But that is not what God does. He comforted, supplied and strengthened His child. This is a loving compassionate interchange. God is so pleased to dwell among weak, broken people like Elijah, like us. And where was all this effort leading Elijah? To the mountain of God.
Where are you freaking out? What has got you running blind with fear? What has you so despondent that you would rather die than press on? Then purposefully take a rest. Take a nap, a walk, a breather. Take a time out and let God feed and refresh you. Let Him remind you that He is right with you in the middle of the mess. And He alone knows where you are really headed — the mountain of God.