Elijah was afraid and ran for his life… 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.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” — 1 Kings 19:3-5
It seems that Elijah was a man given to extremes. He experienced powerful times of public ministry and private times of debilitating doubt. As a result, his emotional life resembled a roller coaster.
As we see in 1 Kings 18, Elijah initiated a contest between the true God he served and the false god Baal. Both Elijah and the prophets of Baal sacrificed a bull and put pieces of the animal on an altar made of wood. The challenge was to see which altar would be set on fire.
The false prophets called on their god with all their might, but nothing happened. Elijah’s altar, although drenched with water, miraculously ignited — burning up both the sacrifice and the altar.
After this miraculous event, you’d think Elijah would have celebrated. Instead, after being threatened by the wicked Jezebel, he huddled under a broom bush — depressed, exhausted, and longing to die. Then he fell asleep.
God sent an angel, who urged Elijah to eat and drink in order to gain strength for the journey. After being revived, Elijah was able to embark on a 40-day trek in the wilderness, where God encouraged him through “a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12).
When we experience emotional lows, our eating patterns may become erratic. Sleep provides an emotional escape. We might even find our own version on a broom bush, curl up, and wish we could die.
At these times, will we accept God’s help? It might come in the form of physical nourishment. It might come in the form of support and love from a pastor, counselor, or physician. Or it might come in the form of quiet encouragement — a whisper of love to our own soul as we meditate on God’s written words to us.
Like Elijah, if we will receive God’s offer of help, we can realign our thinking. Then we can be strengthened to continue on in all that He has planned for us.
More verses to explore:
- Psalm 42:1-11
- Psalm 103:1-5
- Isaiah 61:1-3
Excerpted with permission from Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with notes from P31 Women – Lysa Terkeurst, Glynnis Whitwer, Renee Swope, Karen Ehman and more. Copyright Zondervan.
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Have you ridden the emotional roller coaster, too? Thrilling victories, heart-breaking losses, and unexpected curves? Even though it may be embarrassing to admit and it may seem melodramatic to some, have you ever created your own broom bush just begging God to get it over with after all the exhausting fears, worries, trials and traumas? God’s not surprised by the truth about your broom bush! I’ve gone there so often I should have leased with an option to buy! Come join the conversation on our blog about seeking God’s help and strengthening through seasons of difficulty. We would love to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full