Has life ever seemed overwhelming to you?
If you answered yes, you are not alone. All of us, who are honest, have traveled on that rugged, weary road where we wonder if we can make another step. Circumstances beyond our control have made life incredibly difficult. Suddenly, we find ourselves overwhelmed, discouraged and even depressed by the journey. Life is too much.
Good, godly people are not exempt. Faithful Christians have followed the Lord fully and done their very best. But they can feel worn down, worn out. Battling has left you and me battered. Fighting the good fight of faith has left us reeling, feeling faint. Diligently pursuing doing God’s will has drained our resources, depleting our reserves.
We are running our race, but we feel like falling on our face!
Good news! God knows what to do when the journey becomes too much for us.
In the Bible, I Kings 17-19 records a pivotal chapter in Elijah’s faith journey. In chapter 17, he raised a widows’ son from the dead. In chapter 18, the fiery prophet called fire down from heaven, destroying hundreds of Baal’s false prophets. Tremendous triumphs! Then, the tide turns. In chapter 19, Elijah is on the run from wicked Jezebel, literally fearing for his life.
God’s mighty man ends up on another mountainside, worn out and wishing that he could die.
Before we see how God ministered to Elijah, let’s look at who Elijah was. James 5:17 states Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. He was thoroughly human, no different than you and me. That fact encourages me in my journey!
He was an anointed prophet, called by the Lord to minister to God’s people. He was set apart for special service. Elijah was smack dab in the middle of doing God’s will. Elijah wasn’t rebellious, disobedient, sinful, immoral or lazy. He was where he was supposed to be doing what he was supposed to do. Elijah gave his ministry all he had and then some. He personally and publicly experienced the awesome power of God, rejoicing in a smashing victory over his adversaries.
Elijah seemed to be doing everything right. Then life seemed to turn horribly wrong.
I have been there, done that and didn’t like it. Life went south and kept going south! I had no idea where north was. Tailspin is a good description of what I experienced. Elijah too.
Having outrun Ahab to Jezreel, Elijah received word that Jezebel was coming for his head! Running again, he found himself a days’ journey outside of Beersheba, weary from the journey. Fearful, fatigued beyond fatigue, he uttered ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my father’s.” (I Kings 19:4)
God knew exactly where Elijah was, what he was feeling, and what he needed.
The Lord heard Elijah’s “It is enough.” Thankfully, He didn’t kill him. If God wanted the prophet dead, Jezebel would have happily obliged Elijah’s death wish! The Lord acknowledged that the journey was too great for Elijah.
“And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.” I Kings 19:7.
It helps me to know that my Lord and Savior knows when my journey is too great for me.
As Elijah lay under a juniper tree, God ministered to his discouraged, depleted, depressed servant. The Lord ministered to Elijah in three significant ways.
1. God ministered to Elijah’s PHYSICAL NEEDS. Physically wiped out, Elijah slept. And he slept some more. Then an angel of the Lord brought him water and bread. Two times Elijah was served by his supernatural host. God’s food is pretty special. I Kings 19:8 says Elijah then traveled for forty days “in the strength of that food.” Angel food is awesome!
- Fear feeds on fatigue. Strengthened physically, Elijah could continue his journey walking in faith.
2. God ministered to Elijah’s EMOTIONAL NEEDS. At Mt. Horeb, God asked Elijah why he was there. Emotionally worn out, Elijah thought he was the only man left on earth who followed the Lord. Elijah, discouraged, depressed, threw a whopper of a pity-poor-me-party! The Lord spoke to him in a still, gentle voice, assuring Elijah that there were many others left who served Him. The prophet was not alone. The Lord was with him. And Almighty God still had plans for His servant!
- Faith resurfaces when we focus on the Lord and take our eyes off our feelings.
3. God ministered to Elijah’s SPIRITUAL NEEDS. Having strengthened Elijah’s body and soul, God renewed his spirit. How did he do it? Up close and personal, God told Elijah to get up from the mountainside and get back to work! Refreshed and renewed, Elijah was to go down and anoint Elisha as a successor and join over 7,000 faithful followers of God in continuing the work God had called them to. Break over.
- The journey seems less hard when we are renewed in our spirit and return refreshed to the work God has for us to do.
The journey was no longer too great for Elijah because God ministered to him physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
When “It is enough” for us, God hears our feeble cry. When the journey seems too great, the Lord specializes in ministering to those who feel overwhelmed. He responds with love, mercy and grace to restore and renew us in body, spirit and soul.
Overwhelmed? Had enough? Is going forward hard to imagine? Turn to the Lord. Listen for His voice. Receive a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. He will minister to you, helping you to overcome, so you can continue life’s journey as an over-comer through Christ.
“Your God has commanded your strength; show Thyself strong, O God, who has acted on our behalf.” Psalm 68:28
“O love the Lord all you His godly ones! The Lord preserves the faithful, and fully recompenses the proud doer. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:23-24
A Word For Your Week:
Receive God’s mercy, grace and strength when your journey seems too great.