Elijah went a day’s journey into the wilderness, until he came to a solitary broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death: “Enough, LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” He lay down and fell asleep under the solitary broom tree, but suddenly a messenger touched him and said, “Get up and eat!” He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched
him, and said, “Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you!” He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb. ~1 Kings 19:4-8 (NABRE)
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We don’t think that we can take any more so we plead for it all to just end. Just put us out of our misery! How often does that happen? I don’t think that it has every happened for me. Usually something comes up to either support me as I continue on, or it gets worse so that we look back and wish we were back at that previous spot. That’s life. Unfortunately for us, that’s how it’s supposed to be. Just like what happened for Elijah, though, the Lord supports us and sends us what we need to continue on our journey.
Elijah was a prophet of God, but did you notice that didn’t keep Elijah from danger? He was running because Jezebel sent him a note that said she was going to kill him. Right before this he had defeated the prophets of Baal by showing the people that the gods of Baal were false gods and the only true God was our Lord, and then he had killed the other prophets. He had done what the Lord told him to do, and this is what happened. So when he makes the request to die the Lord instead sends an angel to urge Elijah to eat. There is more for Elijah to do so he will need strength.
God has a reason for everything. It may not be pleasant, but there is a reason for our suffering. Maybe we are supposed to learn lessons that we can then pass on to other people who are suffering in the same way. Maybe we are to learn how to cure the suffering we are experiencing. Or, maybe, you are just supposed to grow stronger through this experience so that you can get through the next stage of suffering. Either way, there is a reason though we may not know what it is at the time. We may never know what the purpose of our suffering is until we get to see God face-to-face.
The thing to remember is that even through our suffering He is with us and watching over us. He doesn’t enjoy watching us suffer, but it has to be done. He had to watch Jesus suffer and die on the cross. If God was going to protect and keep somebody from suffering it would have definitely been His own son, right? And yet… because Jesus died on the cross we have received new life. Last week I mentioned the bread from heaven… Jesus is our bread of life. He is the bread come down so that we may have new life. God gave the Israelites manna when they were journeying through the desert. He, again, provided bread to Elijah when He knew that Elijah would need the strength.
God is providing you with bread, too, when you need it. Have you been almost at your wit’s end, and then out of no where the one thing you needed to keep going suddenly appears? Or you suddenly find the strength to keep going? Or perhaps a thought pops into your head that makes you go a different way, and you are preserved from further destruction? That is God. He loves you.
Please listen to Dan Schutte’s song You Are Near. It says it all.