Ever have one of those moments where you say “I’ve had enough! I’m done!” If you haven’t, you are a rare bird!
Maybe it’s the evil that’s captured in headlines and pictures around the world or in your own backyard. A world that you believe is just getting worse. Maybe it’s all the political infighting going on in the nation’s capitol where the government of the people, by the people, and for the people isn’t getting done no how and no way. Maybe your fears are more local as to how how you’re going feed that family of yours after being laid off or a lay off looming in the wind. Maybe it’s a job it takes all you have to show up for work. Maybe a marriage gone sour or an illness with no relief.
In my case, a blessing and thorn – living on the Autism Spectrum. Some days I’m thankful for my positive Autism traits, just some days more than others. There’s the dark side, too, of living on the Spectrum. The meltdowns, shutdowns, and misunderstandings. I have moments of having had enough.
If you ever felt like throwing in the towel, take some comfort in knowing you are not alone. I’ve been there and so have most of the human race. There’s even a story of it happening to one of God’s prophets. His “time-out” is told in the 19th chapter of I Kings.
A prophet’s job could be a dangerous one. One of his duties was to relay a message from God to the person(s) on the receiving end. Sometimes God’s message was something to the effect of “Get your act together or you’re going to regret it.” You may have heard someone say “Don’t kill the messenger!” Well, sometimes that’s what some one would try to do to one of God’s prophet because God’s message was not pleasing to their ears.
Elijah served during the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Even to this day, the name Jezebel conjures up the word “evil” and other bad words. I’ve not yet met anyone who was given the name “Jezebel” to wear for life. She was without a doubt a “Queen of MEAN!” Jezebel’s thorn in her side was Elijah and she was his. She sent a threatening message to Elijah, ““You can be sure that I will kill you, just as I killed the other prophets. I’ll do it by this time tomorrow. If I don’t, may the gods punish me greatly.”
Understandably Elijah feared for his life and he took off to the desert. He literally prayed that he would die. It was his “I’m done” moment. The scripture tell us that Elijah said, “Lord, I’ve had enough. Take my life. I’m no better than my people of long ago.” Then he laid down under the bush and took a nap.
I can’t blame Elijah for running off from the arena. He was scared, frustrated, angry, and just maybe depressed isn’t too strong enough a word. The outlook for himself and Israel looked dire! He was the only prophet left and many of the children of Israel had rebelled against God despite all of his efforts to turn his own nation back to God. I can relate because sometimes I get down and out about what’s going on in my own nation. I tell myself not to care and don’t bother to vote. It just won’t matter.
Elijah’s break from work had God’s attention. The first thing God did wasn’t to scold Elijah but to send one of his angels to tend to his physical needs. An angel touched him and told him to get up and eat. There was some hot bread baked over hot coals and a jar of water for him to drink. The angel came back later and gave him another round of food and water. After having been nourished, he traveled for 40 days and 40 nights. He kept going until he arrived at Mount Horeb known as the mountain of God. The prophet found a cave where he took up temporary residence.
Now this is the time in the story that reminds me of a situation such as the boss asking the employee, “Why aren’t you at work?” Or, the spouse asking “Why are you still in bed with a yard that is aching to be mowed?” A message from God to Elijah was simply this question, “What are you doing here?”
Elijah’s response was first of all to say he knew that the world was under God’s rule and that he, for one, was committed to Him. Then spoke of the Israelites who had turned their backs on God. He had ran away for dear life since God’s altars had been torn down, backs of God’s people had turned on His covenant, and prophets had been put to death and he was the only one left standing.
The Lord said, “Go out. Stand on the mountain in front of me. I am going to pass by.”
The Lord then demonstrates His power. First, a powerful wind strong enough tearing the mountains apart and breaking up rocks. Then, an earthquake followed by a fire. After the fire there was only a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his coat over his face. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”
Elijah gave pretty much the same answer. Now it appears to me that God was telling Elijah not to be afraid of anyone or anything; that He had Elijah’s back. If God so chose, he could plow his and Elijah’s enemies down with wind, or knock them down with an earthquake, or burn them with fire. No matter how grim things looked, God was still in control. Even if someone took the prophet’s life, well, to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord.
This powerful demonstration of God’s mighty power was followed by God giving Elijah a “to-do” list which included appointing his successor. His naming someone to succeed him may have been the task Elijah might have looked forward to completing the most. Thus, Elijah went back to work and finished his term.
It wasn’t as grim as Elijah had thought. There were still 7,000 people in Israel who had stayed loyal to God and had not bowed down to Baal. Just as it may look to me sometimes that my country is on the skids. I should remind myself I can’t see what God sees. I don’t know all the acts of kindness that are done on any given day as I do the most evil, heinous acts. There are still good people on this earth because God is still at work in the hearts of His children who respond to His call.
Ultimately, Jezebel didn’t get her way of doing in Elijah. No one took Elijah’s life. God had him carried away in a chariot of fire while Elijah’s successor, Elisha, witnessed the prophet’s departure. As for Jezebel, she met a very bad end. You can read about her final scene in the Bible but don’t do it on a full stomach. It’s a rather bloody one.