James 5:17 says that Elijah was a man just like us. . .just like me. Really? Elijah, the confident prophet, who in I Kings 18 took on 850 false prophets and proved that his God was the One True God. He was so confident (cocky?) that he dumped 12 buckets of water on the logs before he called down fire from heaven to burn them up in front of these false prophets. (And his God, my God came through.) Elijah, the man who prayed for no rain and it didn't rain for three and a half years and then prayed for rain and it rained. . .how could I have anything in common with this man?
Well, in I Kings 19. . .immediately after he took on these 850 false prophets with such confidence and God proved Himself to be I AM. . .something weird happens to Elijah (something weird that makes me able to relate to him). He runs (from a scary woman even). In a "fight or flight" situation, I am a flighter. I would much rather run than fight. I run from confrontation and I go curl up in my bathroom when I get overwhelmed by life. I choose flight! And in I Kings 19, Elijah, a man who's own name means "God is Lord" ran! And not only did he run, but he ran and hid and asked God to let him die AND then he had a pity party! Now this is someone I can relate to!
In verse 3, it says that "he was afraid adn arose and ran for his life." I run. I don't ever have to run for my life, but I run. I have found myself running to my bathroom so often recently. If I get overwhelmed or sad or whatever, I head for the heated floors of my bathroom and that is where I think or cry. (Thank goodness for the beautiful rug Andy brought me back from Saudi Arabia that I get to lie on.)
Then in verse 4, it says that "he sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, 'It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life. . . .'" How many times this year, in my struggles have I just curled up and cried and wished that I would die? I'm ashamed to say that it has happened several times this year. Dying just seems so much easier. . .it is the ultimate "flight" for us non-fighters. It isn't that I really wanted to die, it just seemed easier to wish for death rather than to face whatever it is that I have to face. (Now don't get all worried about me, I'm not the least bit suicidal. . .just being real for a minute.)
And then Elijah did the ultimate thing I can relate to and he did it TWICE! When God sent an angel to him, he threw a pity party totally focused on how faithful of a servant he is and how ALONE he felt! I can relate to the "I'm all alone" pity party!!! The voice of the Lord actually spoke to him twice and asked him, "'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" (What are you doing curled up on the nice rug on the heated floor of your bathroom crying?) And Elijah answered from the depths of his pity party: "'I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and illed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.'" Now, that isn't what I usually say in my pity party. Usually it is something more like, "Lord, what have I done to deserve this? I love You. I trust in You. I am a good mom--usually. I am a faithful and attentive wife. I feel so overwhelmed and I just don't understand why you have left me in this situation. I am all alone."
In this Beth Moore study I am doing, she says that nothing can descend us into deeper defeat than when we feel like we are the only one. SO TRUE! Every "bathroom floor" situation gets so much worse when I go to the "I'm all alone" place. I Peter 5:9 tells us not to be isolated in suffering. "But resist him (the devil), firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world." So, I am not alone in my hurt or suffering or my feeling of being overwhelmed or whatever "bathroom floor" situation I find myself in. And it is so true that in feeling alone, I become so much more defeated.
Anyway, in this Elijah story, God tells him to get up and go back where he came from because there are 7,000 people who have not bowed down to false gods. In other words, Elijah wasn't alone and God provided him with 7,000 people. God saw that he was feeling alone and He provided him with 7,000 reasons to get off the bathroom floor! God was (and is) faithful! And Elijah went on to do more wonderful things in the name of his Lord!
All of that. . . . I just love it when I realize that these amazing men of God in the Bible struggled just like I do. They may not have my exact same hurts or betrayals or struggles, but they all struggled or felt betrayed or overwhelmed or fearful or whatever. And often they handled it exactly like I do. Like Elijah, I let the "doom and gloom" of being "all alone" take me on this terrible path of despair. I flee and have a pity party and become totally worthless on my bathroom floor. I know that God will provide for me just like He provided for Elijah. But like Elijah, I have to get of the floor and return to where I ran from.
I was encouraged by this word. I hope you are, too! Get off the floor! (Interestingly enough, last night this was what I learned and this morning I found myself back on the floor. I actually had to grab Gabby and go out for a chocolate covered cinnamon twist in order to get off the floor, but I got up.)