1 Kings 19:3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.
In a number of ways this part of Elijah’s story is as important as the triumph on Mt. Carmel. One of the marvels of the Bible is that it records its heroes as fully human. In some ways Elijah seems super-human, calling down fire from heaven and then running faster than a horse-drawn chariot. (1 Kings 18:46) However, here we have him in all his humanity, undone by the threats of Queen Jezebel. As the next verse makes clear, his emotional exhaustion brought depression to the point of being suicidal. We are like that, being on a pinnacle one moment and not long after, being in the depths. In recent years “bipolar” has been a popular psychiatric diagnosis, but we all have that tendency. For most people, I think it’s just being human. The answer for Elijah was proper nourishment and rest, and then purposeful activity. When we fail to take care of ourselves we open ourselves up to all sorts of attacks. Proper nutrition, rest, and exercise are essential parts of our stewardship of the bodies we have been given. However, if our focus is simply on being healthy we miss the point of it all, which is to know and serve our Creator. There can be a fine line between proper self-care and self-centeredness. Looking at the story of Elijah, we see that God had to get his attention so that he would listen to God rather than to all the turmoil around him. We certainly need that at times! Giving Elijah three very specific tasks, God then encourages him with news we all need at times: you aren’t the only one left, whatever it feels like. It’s not unusual to feel isolated, to feel like we are the only ones who seek God. Sometimes God needs to remind us, too, that’s not the case. With all the turmoil and rot that’s going on in the US at this point, not to mention around the world, taking our eyes off of Jesus can lead to depression very quickly! We too need to remember that we aren’t alone, and we have work to do.
This certainly applies to me. I have had times of being in a spiritual stupor, basically just existing, and I have had times of feeling I couldn’t trust anyone. Both of those were lies from the devil. I am to be active in my obedience, but not frantic in my activities. I am to remember that the fact that I’m on this earth means that my Lord has work for me to do, and I am to rejoice in being useful to Him. I am to be quiet enough in my heart to hear His “gentle whisper.” (verse 12) As I deal with these issues in myself, I am also called upon to help others who are struggling with depression and other issues. I am not to put them down but speak encouragement and life to them, helping them lift their eyes to the One who loved them enough to die for them. We are all weak, fallible human beings, but God’s grace is sufficient for us all! (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Thank You for yesterday and all it held. Thank You that we could get medical confirmation that Cathy’s current pain isn’t caused by blood clots. Thank You that she is definitely better this morning. I ask for wisdom, today and each day, to walk in such obedience to You that we stay in the flow of Your provision of health, peace, joy, and everything else, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!