Scripture: 1 Kings 19:1-8
Key verse: (4) But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “it is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”
Reflection: Elijah confronted King Ahab about Ahab’s idolatry, worshiping the god Baal in the land of Israel. Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest in order to show the power of God and to expose their idolatry. After “winning” the contest, Elijah was threatened by Ahab’s wife Jezebel and Elijah fled into the wilderness. He is done. He believes he has failed. He is completely alone and feels abandoned. He is hopeless. Elijah is ready to die.
These are hard words to read. If you have ever had those thoughts or feelings, you know the despair and the darkness. If you have lost a loved one to suicide, or cared about someone dealing with depression, you know the helplessness and the pain.
Elijah, faithful prophet of God, hero of the Old Testament, was courageous and strong in standing up for what was right. And this same Elijah was also brokenhearted and depressed, hopeless about his situation and ready to give up. The storytellers of the Bible give us a very real portrait of Elijah. They don’t omit the hard words or the dark thoughts. Elijah was human, like you and me and every person with the “mixed-baggedness” of our lives. In the wilderness, an angel of the Lord comes to Elijah and offers him food and water that symbolize strength and hope.
When you are in the darkness, I pray that an angel comes to bring you hope and that you are able to recognize and accept it. And perhaps God will use you as an angel to bring simple hope to someone else who is struggling.
Prayer: O God, my failures sometimes condemn me. Sometimes I can’t see a way forward and I want to give up. You seem far away even though you are with me. Send me hope today. Use me to bring hope to those who are in pain. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].