Discouragement

This past Sunday my pastor spoke from 1 Kings 19. In this passage Elijah is running for his life. The ironic part is that it takes place immediately following what could be best described as his greatest victory. 1 Kings 18 recounts the events surrounding Elijah’s encounter with the Prophets of Baal, sacrifice, and fire from heaven. It is one of those spectacular Sunday school stories that stays with the hearer. After the Prophets of Baal fail to entice their god to consume their sacrifice with fire Elijah builds an altar, sets his sacrifice on top, floods it with water, and prays and God answers in a big way. Everything is consumed by fire- the altar, the wood, the sacrifice, the dust and the water; all gone. It had to be the spiritual high point of his life and ministry.

Chapter 19 picks up shortly after this victory. Elijah is running scared. Whatever had been accomplished in Chapter 18 no longer mattered. Scripture says that Elijah was so scared and discouraged that he wanted to die.

From a certain perspective it is easy to criticize Elijah. How could he be so forgetful? But I also find myself resonating with his state. I am thankful for what God has accomplished in the past. However I don’t get to live in the past.

At the Executive Director of DOOR it sometimes seems like ministry stress only seems to multiply. As I write this, I am glad that last year’s budget was met, but I have no idea if this will happen again this year. The result? Last year’s victory has faded and this year’s stress only seems to intensify. And like Elijah I want to run and hide.

I am so glad Elijah’s story doesn’t end with God fulfilling his death wish. Rather God offers comfort and rest for the journey ahead. This I also resonate with. The stress of work and budget are always present, but God shows up, offering rest and renewal. This is also important to remember.

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