“Then Elijah walked for a whole day into the desert. He sat down under a bush and asked to die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he prayed. “Let me die. I am no better than my ancestors.”
1 Kings 19:4
Poor Elijah. He was bold and heroic, taking on the enemy at Mt. Carmel. A mighty victory was wonderously won, but here he is, completely defeated and overpowered by his own fear and doubt. How defeated was he? We hear him begging to be allowed to die. He had become overwhelmed.
You could say that Elijah was saturated with fear. He could not resist taking on the conflict. It seemed to him that everything was now directed at him. He couldn’t take one step forward. So, he folded. Everything was affecting him on a personal level, and he was not built to take the load. Many of God’s children come to this point.
He was shorting out. His circuits were not designed for this. He crumbles under the weight. As we read the text, it all seems to be a bit off. We shake our heads and wonder about strange Elijah. We see him incapacitated by his doubt and fear. But it doesn’t seem to us to be an issue. The prophets of Baal wouldn’t deceive the Israelites anymore. After all, he had just achieved a fantastic victory that should propel him to the next encounter.
“Elijah was a human being just like us.” –James 5:17
The servants of the Lord are vulnerable. As we step into the flow of God’s presence we will come “face-to-face “with things that are beyond us. Often we will find ourselves pushed beyond our limits, backed in a corner and stripped of our weaponry. Our enemies now turn to face us without fear of reprisal.
Our Father deals gently with a wounded servant.
Elijah had been crippled. He had nothing more to give. We can shake our head, and pass him by as a casualty of a spiritual war. But the funny thing is that God tells his story, he has been added to the narrative of scripture. His falterings, and failings has become our focal point. Elijah, with all his issues must be faced, and we must look at him. We see the tenderness and gentleness of God as He deals with His bruised servant. God loves His broken believers. (1 Kings 19:12-13).
His Spirit is oh so gentle. He comes whispering. He lifts Elijah at Elijah’s pace. A painful rebuke, and a harsh word of correction is not in His vocabulary, it is not even considered. Our Father deals carefully with a wounded servant. Elijah would go on to serve Jehovah. Elijah would be a changed man. God had mended him.