Elijah Therapy

Even God’s choicest servants can become disillusioned and depressed over circumstances. As with David when pursued by Saul (1 Samuel 27:1), Job in his severe trial (Job 3:1), and John the Baptist in prison (Matthew 11:2, 3), it happened even to the powerful prophet Elijah.

Elijah bursts onto the scene (1 Kings 17) confronting Israel’s evil King Ahab. He works miracles, and even calls down fire from heaven to show that the Lord, not Baal, is God ( 1 Kings 18). But when Jezebel vows revenge, he quite literally runs for his life (1 Kings 19:3).

Collapsing under a tree (1 Kings 19:4, 5), Elijah asks to die (since he has “had enough” and is “no better than” his ancestors) and then falls asleep. Whatever was left of his courage had evaporated. An angel prepares food for him “for the journey is too much for you” (v. 7).

He travels forty days and hides in a cave (1 Kings 19:9-14), but outside he witnesses a spectacular display of wind, earthquake, and fire, after which God speaks “in a quiet whisper.” Neither the display nor the voice appear to move Elijah, since he answers God’s question (“What are you doing here???”) with the same words before and after. He fancies himself God’s lone champion, only to be told there are seven thousand faithful (1 Kings 19:18).

This is “Elijah Therapy,” but not unlike how God heals our own confusion and disillusionment. He knows and tracks our condition, arranging for our physical necessities. If we will listen, He reminds us that He usually does not work through the spectacular, but always is speaking in the “still small voice” of His Spirit. And He attacks our pride, self pity, and frustration, by pointing us to the larger, like-minded, diverse family of faithful ministry partners.

We all get weary “in the work,” but need not be weary “of our work.” Instead, let’s delight in the Lord’s loving care of His people, and be grateful He has included us in their number. He provides for us, encourages us through His word, and surrounds us with His children.

“Father, we thank you for meeting our needs, strengthening our courage, and placing us in a loving family of believers. Help us rejoice in your love and reach out to others. In the name of Jesus. Amen.”

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