We all get our low points, even the great prophet Elijah had his greatest defeat after his greatest victory! [you can read the whole story in 1 Kings 18-19:1-9] Elijah ran away from his calling, his mission and his God. He collapsed under a Broome tree [I guess that’s where we possibly could get the proverbial SWEPT OFF OUR FEET from!]
I believe he was physically, emotionally, psychologically, mentally and perhaps even spiritually exhausted. When I’m in this place [which I have been recently] I follow this stories advice. But first I have to be honest with myself and God and identify the place I’m at! How do I do this?
Realise I am running away as Elijah did! He hid under a shrub and asked to die! [Please note, you don’t have to be depressed to be in this place and I didn’t ask to die!!]Being burned out or run down; the same rules apply! The first sign is lack or loss of prayer, Bible reading and communion with God, which is where I was at due to overwork and not enough rest, hence I am enjoying a week off, catching up with God, wrote a song and doing these blogs again! Also irritability, short fuse and feelings of self-pity are good signs too as well as insomnia and lack of appetite, hence God made him lie down and sleep, rest and eat [Psalm 23:1-3.] Yes, it is hard to be open and honest but it’s good for me and you!
- Next, notice he wanted to be alone, he left his servant behind in Beersheba! When we get depressed, run down or burned out we begin to isolate ourselves from people. The devil especially likes to isolate us from the pack like a wounded animal, so he can kill and devour us [spiritually]. Now, God allowed this isolation for a while so He could deal with His servant gently and mercifully; and at these times we will need to get alone with God, but people around us are vital, family, friends, Christians! As our pastor Jon Colyer reminds us, ‘take a coal out of a hot fire and it’ll soon go cold, but keep it in company with other coals and it’ll stay hot!’
- Next, God allowed him to sleep. Sleep is vital, rest is paramount! We have to find time for it! Jesus said, ‘come apart with me and rest’, one bible teacher has said “IF WE DON’T COME APART WITH JESUS AND REST, WE WILL COME APART!'” I like that! God let him get plenty of sleep. I can’t sleep more than 6hrs a night, my body clock won’t let me no matter what time I go to bed, so over these last few days on holiday I have allowed myself to nap whenever my eyes get heavy. At first I felt yuck and guilty for being such a slob, but now I am enjoying being a slob for a week.
- Then the Angel brought him food and water! Some versions say cake, some say bread! I say, ‘Mr Kipling, you were not the first to come up with the ANGEL CAKE, GOD WAS!’ :-)) now, it seems that the main thing at this point is that Elijah needed carbs first! The nuts, fruit, proteins etc could come later! Now I am no nutritionist, but I am going to stick at this point with what the Bible teaches and am eating more porridge, cereal, starch and carbs for the next few days and drink more water than usual.
And so, to recap:
- We must stay close to God at all times no matter how we feel or what the circumstances dictate! Stay in the Bible, stay in prayer, stay in fellowship with Father Son and Holy Spirit
- We must stay in community and not get isolated, no matter how much ‘we really don’t feel like being around folk at the moment’.
- We must get enough sleep! Lack of r.e.m. sleep will make us irritable, snappy, act out of character and make rash, un-thought out, foolish decisions.
- We must eat some food! You may have a lump in your throat from fear, anxiety, uncertainty and doubt [believe me I have known that lump and that feeling of deep down nausea, hopelessness and despair] but we must eat and drink plenty of water, not juice or stimulants. Some are ok, but at this point lots of water. The God who knows our bodies knows exactly what we need at this point. So, if like me you are exhausted, or worse burned out and depressed, please read this Bible account and see how God “the real expert” deals with it. Next time we will see how God RECOMMISSIONS Elijah after He restores him!