Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. – I Kings 19:3-6
Only God can keep us focused. Only God can give us the courage to carry on when failure and disaster seem immanent.
Therefore, when the journey seems difficult, when your back is against the wall, rely upon the Lord to carry you. He will give you all that you need to carry on. He will sustain you because he has a plan for you.
“… He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – I Corinthians 10:13b
In the text, we are told that the prophet, Elijah, sat down under a tree and prayed for death. Then he fell asleep. The Lord was with him even though he thought that he was alone. God strengthened him and gave him sustenance to continue his journey.
Things really must be going badly when a person wants to die. Despite a bad situation, the average person clings to life. People prefer life to death. However, when one feels that death is better than life, things have reached a point of no return.
The prophet, Elijah, was depressed and discouraged because his life had been threatened. The wicked queen of his nation, Jezebel, promised that she would take his life because he had killed her priests of the false god, Baal.
Even though Elijah had proven the power of his God to the people, he lost his focus, and, in fear, he ran and hid in the wilderness. As with Elijah, when things get rough and it seems like a situation would go badly, we opt for the easy way out and seek to quit.
That is what Elijah wanted to do. He had demonstrated that his God was reliable and powerful. Yet, when the queen sent word that she would kill him for what he had done to her priests, he lost his confidence and his focus. He panicked and ran for his life.
The prophet did not rely upon God to take him through his problem. He just wanted God to end his life.
This suggests that even the great men of God suffered from depression. At one time, when King David had been confronted for his sin against God, he became depressed. In his plea to God, he wrote Psalm 51. The people of God also have their low moments.
There were times that they felt that God was not with them. They felt all alone. I, too, sometimes feel like I am all alone.
Therefore, don’t feel that you are losing your faith when you have moments of depression and want to quit. Feeling discouraged and depressed is a normal part of the human condition.
When you are overcome by the vicissitudes of life, don’t try to do it alone or to take drastic steps to rectify your condition. Rely upon the Lord for strength and for direction. As He did for Elijah, He will do for you.
Our Lord, Jesus, during his earthly ministry, had many moments to be discouraged and depressed. Many times, the people did not believe in him. They ridiculed his ministry and belittled him. Notwithstanding this, he stayed the course because he was doing the will of his father.
Thank God that he remained focused. Thank God that he did not quit. I am so thankful that he did not let the grumbling, the insults, the unbelief, and the obstacles deter him. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.