God’s providence during trying moments
“But he, himself, went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers! And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, ‘arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.’ So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God, “ (I Kings 19:4-8 NKJV).
The story of Elijah and the visit of the Angel of God to him in his very low moments is one account that highlights the goodness of God towards His children in their hour of need. It shows how God cares for His own, even in their very low moments. Elijah fled when Ahab told Jezebel how the prophet had destroyed the prophets of Baal. With only a simple threat from Jezebel, Elijah ran for his dear life. A prophet who had single-handedly killed 450 prophets of Baal took to his feet; he could not withstand the threat of a lady. What a sharp contrast to his brazen display of courage at Mount Carmel!
What is very interesting was how God intervened to save the life of the prophet when he fell into depression. If anyone is looking for an example of a frustrated and depressed man he can find it in Elijah, at least his prayer suggests that. “It is enough!” he said to God, “Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
For a prophet of Elijah’s calibre to say to God, “it is enough!” says a lot about the agony he passed through at that moment. Elijah’s demand for God to take his life shows how frustrated he was. It is a sign that any of us, no matter how spiritual, could very easily succumb to despair and depression.
Again, Elijah claimed he was no better than his fathers; was that true or just a statement made out of frustration? Although we do not know anything about Elijah’s pedigree; one thing is certain his fathers most likely did not serve the true God. The Scriptures just said this about him: Elijah the Tishbite of the inhabitants of Gilead,” nothing else is said about his parentage. It is easy to descend into depression and frustration when we get to our wit’s end. What is shocking, however, is how Elijah who was once at the peak of his ministry at Mount Carmel could condescend so fast to this level of frustration.
The Angel of God came the second time to him and said, “arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” This shows God’s love and cares to save a prophet from depression. God does not and will never abandon us in our low moments. The Psalmist said: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed,” (Psalm 34:18 – NLT).
God often steps in to renew our strength when we are discouraged. The way God renewed Elijah’s strength was to give him a piece of cake to eat. Elijah was commanded twice, “arise and eat.” The second time he was told, “because the journey is too great for you.” What journey and how far?
A distant and tedious journey requires stamina and determination to accomplish. That was indirectly God’s message to Elijah.