Overcoming Our Feelings of Inadequacy
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” (I Kings 19:9-10)
Elijah is tired. He is overwhelmed. He feels alone. We know that feeling. We understand that feeling after this pandemic year. In the midst of Elijah’s weakness, we see God drawing near to him. It is a reminder that God comes to the aid of those who are despairing. It is a reminder of a God who comes to provide food, to ask and listen, to offer hope and direction.
One of the important messages of this passage is that we are not alone. God is with us. God is sending others to walk through this life with us. Are you willing to see those who are willing to hold your hand and walk with you? Are you willing to see in those hands, the very hands of God caring for you, supporting you, encouraging you?
There is a delightful book called, “Now That I Have Cancer, I am Whole,” written by John Robert McFarland. In that book he tells of a time when he came home one evening when his daughters were teenagers. To his surprise he found them rocking back and forth on the living room sofa, arms locked around each other, weeping as if their hearts were truly broken.
He says, “Gently I tried to get my arms around them and whispered, ‘what’s wrong? Why are you crying?’
“Katie looked over at him, over Mary Beth’s shoulder, with streaming eyes, and choked out, ‘I don’t know. She hasn’t told me yet.’” I love that story, because it highlights for me how we don’t have to know why another is crying or despairing to choose to walk beside them.
In our scripture, the picture that emerges is that God is willing to walk with us through our moments of fear and despair. And when you follow the story long enough, we see God not only nurtures Elijah, questions Elijah and walks with Elijah, but we see God invite Elijah back into ministry.
We live in a world, where people have been more isolated than ever. We live in a world where despair and hatred seem to be growing. And you and I need to hear the message of this scripture. That yes moments of despair come. When we are feeling overwhelmed and desperate, that we can turn to God. This passage reminds us that God is here to walk with us, to nourish us, to encourage us and to send us back into the world in hope and ministry. May we learn to see God with us.
Loving God, thank you for coming to us in the places we most need you. When life becomes overwhelming, help us to find refuge in you, so you can touch us, heal us, and send us to where you need us to be. In the hope that Jesus offers us, Amen.