Okay… well, maybe it’s not that bad – but it’s getting there! We’ve all had times when we’ve decided we just can’t handle one more thing on our plate, or one more demand on us. There comes a time when we have to stop and evaluate our very existence! Why are we here? We don’t really need to be so melodramatic, we just have to put it all in perspective.
We are often the most venerable when we’re physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. You may be in a high risk group such as a new mom, a student, a high-level career professional, a nurse, a public servant, or a retailer. The list is endless, but in reality – we’re all “at risk” for being worn out at some time or another.
In the Gospels, Jesus was tempted by Satan when He was hungry, tired and isolated. He had human limitations even though He was the incarnate God. He rebuked Satan by quoting Scripture. We can do the same by exclaiming, “It is written…” Using our sword of the Sprit effectively is our greatest weapon against the father of lies.
Elijah set up an elaborate altar surrounded by a trench, offered a sacrifice on it, but put no fire under it, saying, “Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the God who answer by fire, He is God.” After hours of coaxing and mocking them, at the time of the evening sacrifice, Elijah prayed aloud for God to vindicate him. Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice including the wood, stones, and water. The people acknowledged the Lord God and they seized and executed the false prophets. That did it! Jezebel took it personally and wanted her revenge against Elijah.
When the going gets tough –run for your life! Elijah must have forgotten all about the miraculous success on Mt. Carmel. How many times do we forget what the Lord has done for us? Chapter 19 verse 4 tells us he went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and sat down under a broom tree. There he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” Verse 5 says that as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him to “Arise and eat.” By his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. The Scripture says that he ate and drank, and lay down again.
This scenario repeated itself for a second time, and we are told he went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights as far as Mt. Horeb. It was here in a crag on Mt. Horeb that God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice. Elijah had attended his own pity party, and God in His mercy came to his rescue. In the end God restored Elijah to his rightful place as prophet, directed him to anoint Elisha to take his place, and reinforced his fortitude by reminding him that there were still seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed down to Baal.
God is still in the business of comforting his saints. He sends us provisions when we are weary. Often all that is needed to help us through the crisis is a good hot meal, and a good night’s sleep. As the manna rained down from heaven, so shall your sustenance be. Psalm 78:23-25 tells us, “Yet He [God] had commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven, had rained down manna on them to eat, and given them of the bread of heaven. Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full.” Elijah had his own brand of angel food cake and rest.
Resting in the Lord gives you a renewed vigor and stamina. Meditate on His Goodness. Read Psalm 23 and picture yourself in a lush, green pasture, following your Shepherd as He makes His way to a fresh, cool brook. Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness." Verse 7 says, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…” In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus invites us to “Come, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
It is said that Susannah Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley, often pulled her outer skirt over her head to find peace and a stillness when her offspring were little. As a mother of over a dozen children, she resorted to whatever means was necessary to rest in the Lord, even if it was for but a moment.