Champions struggle too. Just because you struggle does not mean you are not a champion or have failed. We lose things in life. . . and, even though that is the way it is, it’s not right. It’s not good. And, it’s not okay.
1 Kings 19:1-3a (NLT) When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. 2 So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.” 3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life.
A Child of God in Trouble. Elijah had just won the greatest battle of his life, one of the top victories in the Bible. He should have felt ten feet tall and bulletproof. But then his phone dinged and there it was – Jezebel wanted him dead. He had accomplished what God gave him to do, and now he was in trouble. Now he was afraid. A child of God in trouble is no new thing.
1 Kings 19:3-4a (NLT) He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. 4 Then he went on aloneinto the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die.
When You Find Yourself In The Valley…
Are You Tired? Elijah had spent all day mocking the prophets of Baal. He had dealt with the whole altar and “calling down fire from heaven” drama. He outran Ahab back to Jerusalem, and he had walked all day. How much can a person actually accomplish in a day and remain healthy in all the ways that matter? What if we are simply trying to do too much?
Are You Alone? Elijah left his servant, friend, and confidant. I’m sure he meant to protect him, but it ended up leaving Elijah isolated. Alone is not a good place to be. We learn that in Genesis 2.
There are a lot of reasons that we push people away. We don’t want to hurt them. We don’t trust ourselves around them. We can’t contribute to the relationship or carry our part of it. A smaller circle is probably wise at times. Alone is not, at least not for long.
Are You Praying? You see, what Elijah is doing here is talking, he is not listening yet. Praying is both. When you have an answer to your prayers, and you’re just instructing God, that’s not really praying. That’s dictating. That’s being your own God. Prayer makes room for a God-sized solution.
Granted, even one-sided prayer is helpful. It takes prayer to move our hearts and minds. It is in prayer that we often come to terms with our own weakness and sinfulness. When we do that, we realize that we need a God because we are not gods. So, pray until you can listen, and then pray until you understand. Then, pray until you have peace.
Psalms 42:5 (NLT) Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and 6 My God!
Where is Your Hope? Is your hope in your circumstances changing, or in God? I believe this is the difference between the early church or persecuted Christians and the Christians of the west. We demand that God change our circumstances. Simpler and deeper Christians know they only need Him, His presence, His comfort, His joy and His perspective.
1 Kings 19:7 (NLT) Then the angel of the LORD came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”
A Path Out Of The Valley
Disclaimer. There are no miracle cures, silver bullets, or magic portals. You will walk out of the valley. It is slow, arduous, and challenging. If you will simply NOT QUIT, you will look back one day to see you are farther than you were from your trouble and closer than you were to the light.
Fuel Your Body. The Angel basically said, “Here is a snack, and a nap.” That is exactly what my kindergarten teacher used to say. “Snacks and naps for everyone.” WHY did we stop carrying napping pads and a pocket full of snacks everywhere?
Get some fuel and rest. Nutrition is more important than comfort. Often we are trying to consume rest and peace by consuming chaos. Nutrition IS impacting your life. It is either making you sicker or stronger.
And, you know Jesus took naps, right? Elijah took naps. Your biggest victory for the Kingdom just might be on the other side of a nap. I know you think I’m silly, but I believe we are too busy, too preoccupied, and too worried to be still, listen and truly awaken.
1 Kings 19:9-10 (NLT) 9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the LORD said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
The Stuff that You Believe, that Ain’t True. I’m the only one. I’m looking in this mirror and I can’t see anyone else, only my good-looking self. The truth is, you couldn’t be alone if you tried. You can ignore God’s doing, but you’ll always be a part of it.
We tell ourselves things that are not true. I’ll never get this. Not true. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It’s impossible. NOT TRUE. With God, all things are possible. No one understands, NOT TRUE. Jesus was tempted in every way like we are and he never sinned and never quit. I might as well quit. NOT TRUE. You are a victor in waiting, not a failure in the making.
1 Kings 19:12 (NLT) And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
Stillness is Better than Busy-ness. God speaks in a still, small voice. A life with many loud, attention-demanding noises clouds our understanding.
“Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” – James Thurber
Nothing is more beautiful than God, and he doesn’t ask for attention. But, he does require it if He is to be known. If we do not learn to notice, and listen. We will never find our way out of this valley.
1 Kings 19:15-16 (NLT) 15 Then the LORD told him, “Go back the same way you came,… and anoint Elisha … to replace you as my prophet.
You’re Not Done. What you need is inspiration. So, what inspires you? What fuels you? It is easy to be so discouraged that you can’t remember. So, it’s time to remember because God has more for you to do. Some life is yours to touch. Some need is yours to meet. Someone needs you. So breath, don’t quit, keep listening, keep moving, and keep rolling with the punches. God is doing more – with what you perceive as failure – than you know.