Elijah came to a broom tree, 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 tree 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 a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
~ 1 Kings 19:4-8
Elijah’s crisis is understandable. You can feel a fraction of his frustration if you’ve been working through the entire summer without a break. You have to suffer through co-workers’ vacation pictures. They come back spinning exciting tales of adventure or relaxation while you were shouldering an added burden of work in their absence. Kind of makes you want to give up.
You have a sense of Elijah’s pain if you have struggled yourself. You watch loved ones suffer through painful sickness. You sit helplessly as friends give in to addiction, or watch in horror as their marriages crumble. Unemployment and financial ruin strikes too close to home. You aren’t immune from Elijah’s feelings of just wanting to give up.
But Elijah’s despair, and ours, comes from a lack of focus. Elijah was fixated on his feelings, not reality. He had just been an eyewitness and a participant in God’s victory over the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, overcoming 400 to 1 odds! Onlookers acknowledged the power and supremacy of the true God (1 Kings 18).
So God had to to encourage and strengthen Elijah. God does the same thing for you today by fixing your gaze on the cross of Jesus. By his cross and empty grave Jesus proclaimed victory over your enemies of sin and death. His deliverance comes to you personally through his word. Focus on the reality of Christ’s victory. Focus on his cross whenever you are feeling like Elijah. Focus on Christ’s powerful victory over sin and death whenever you are ready to give up.
Prayer: Dear Savior, whenever I am weak and discouraged, help me turn in trust to you. Cause my eyes of faith to find deliverance and strength in your victory. Amen.