“For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body” – James 3:2 (ESV).
One of the well-known stories in the Bible is the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal found in (1 Kings 18:19-39). Elijah said to the Israelites, “If the LORD is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” The prophets were challenged and God sent fire from heaven and then ended a long drought with a great rain. Elijah must have felt a sense of victory; the evil King Ahab could not deny the one true God.
But trouble awaited Elijah in the form of Ahab’s wife—Jezebel. When Jezebel heard what Elijah had done at Mount Carmel, she threatened to kill him. “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.” (1 Kings 19:2) Elijah ran away and hid in the wilderness. “Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there.” (1Kings 19:3) Elijah went from a man faithfully and confidently praying for God’s glory to be displayed at Mount Carmel to a man begging the Lord to take away his life. (See 1 Kings 19:4.)
I love how the Bible has a way of portraying the saints, warts and all. Elijah had had such an incredible victory on Mount Carmel only to be defeated by fear, anxiousness, and panic. Even the most committed of God’s servants may at times experience discouragement, pessimism, and a desire to call it quits. 1 Kings 19 tells the story of how the mighty Elijah succumbed to human weakness. Basically, he was burned out.
You can read about a very tired prophet in 1 Kings, Chapter 19. He was exhausted. He tells God, “I have had enough Lord. Take my life . . .” Then he falls asleep. He is spent. Elijah is just too physically and emotionally drained. He is not that different from the rest of us attempting to push ahead in our own strength. God knows that we are very vulnerable to life’s circumstances when we are tired or when we are overwhelmed. Like Elijah, we can fall prey to “nobody knows what I have to deal with — and worse, no one cares!” There are times when we simply need to shut down, take a nap, or just be alone to read, refuel and re-energize through prayer and rest. There is nothing wrong with saying no when we need rest. After a while, God tells Elijah to leave the cave and get back to work. But first, he is allowed to rest. There are times when we need to do the same.
Some days we feel exhausted. Worn out. Feeling like we can’t go on. None of us are immune. Parenting, marriage, job, relationships, fears, worries about the future – it all can leave u s beaten down and worn. But no matter what we face, we can be assured: God is always with us just as He was with Elijah in the wilderness. For those who are weary we can find rest in Him.
- In what ways can you relate to Elijah when he says, “I have had enough?”
- Is rest important to you? Why? Do you have enough margin in your life?