when in doubt…

I think my favourite Old Testament personality is Elijah. I’m not sure what made me think of that, but he is. It’s because he is so… human.

One minute he is on a spiritual high – confronting false gods and royalty, the next he is running for his life. He is even petulant with God.

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1Ki 19:3-4)

“I have had enough, LORD.” The two halves of that sentence are incompatible.

When God ministered to him on Mount Horeb he told Elijah to go out of the cave and stand on the mountain because he was about to allow Elijah to witness his incredible presence. But Elijah stayed in the cave! It was only when the maelstrom outside had calmed to the ‘sound of sheer silence’ that Elijah ventured to the mouth of the cave.

And even that failed to shake Elijah from his misery. It was not so much that he saw the glass as half-empty, he felt like the glass had been smashed to smithereens.

But God offered him a new task (which he failed to do) and a companion (Elisha).

There are difficult and dark times for all of us in life. There are times when we doubt our faith, when we question whether God is in control, when we wonder if it is worth it, when we have had enough, LORD.

On those occasions I find Elijah strangely comforting. God dealt gently with him when he was fragile. He did not yell at him and tell him to pull himself together. He understood what Elijah needed to carry on and offered it to him.

If in doubt, look at 1 Kings 19 

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