When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.” – 1 Kings 19:13-15
When you become discouraged and feel frustrated, think of the many men of God who were once in a similar position, but they endured. Biblical characters of great courage, at times, showed their human frailty and weakness when suffering from depression. Noah, Moses, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, and others – all prophets of God – experienced deep depressions, some to the point of wanting to die, even asking God to end their lives.
Discouragement is a great burden for anyone to carry. When I am discouraged, I think about Moses. He is my motivator. He was a man who talked with God, yet he had his moments of discouragement. Notwithstanding all the disappointments Moses experienced, he stayed faithful to his God and His mission.
When you are discouraged and want to give up, look to God. He will give you strength and courage to carry on.
In the text, Elijah, a faithful man of God, became discouraged and afraid. Consequently, he ran away into the wilderness to get away from an evil queen, Jezebel.
Prior to running away and hiding from the queen, Elijah had displayed the power of his God to the people. To do so, he had offered a challenge to the priests of Baal to see whose god was greater.
He told the priests of Baal to see if their god could provide fire to offer up their sacrifice on their altar. Therefore, the priest of Baal called upon their god from morning to noon but got no response.
When the priest of Baal failed to get a response from their God, Elijah said he would consult his God. He first built a trench around his altar, filled it with water and poured water over the sacrifice. Subsequently, he prayed to his God who sent a consuming fire that burned up the sacrifice, the wood, and the water in the trench.
After demonstrating the power of his God, Elijah seized the prophets of Baal and had them slaughtered. When queen Jezebel learned of what Elijah had done, she threatened his life.
The great man of God, who had trusted God and displayed the great power of God to the people, heard this, became discouraged and ran away. Instead of trusting God to deliver him, he made a wild dash to get away from the queen.
Have you ever felt the way Elijah must have felt? Have you ever felt like you were all alone with no place to turn, particularly in ministry?
Elijah thought he was the last prophet and the only man of God standing. But he was not.
Often, people make drastic decisions, taking their own lives because they think there is no way out. However, there is always a way out. God has a plan and a way out.
We may not see, but God, who is the way-maker, has a plan for us all. It does not matter how dismal our way forward may seem. There is a way out. Amen.
• Reverend Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone 426-9084; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.