1 Kings 19:4New King James Version (NKJV)
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
Elijah had just come off one of the biggest victories of his career. He had just asked the Lord to send down fire to consume his sacrifice. He prayed in 1 Kings 18: “37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God,…..” And the Lord did just that; He consumed every trace of the sacrifice. The people saw this, believed and executed the 450 prophets of Baal the false god and turned back to the God of Israel. Elijah was a hero because of this. This was his mountaintop experience.
But we often go from success to panic. What if I can’t do that again? What if this was a freak accident? What if I just got lucky? What if…What if? Shortly after his huge success (which was God’s hand), Queen Jezebel threatens to kill him and Elijah runs for his life into the wilderness. Now he is feeling sorry for himself. He asks the Lord to take his life. Why? Didn’t he just prove that the Lord was the only true God through his prayers? Had God not established Elijah as His Prophet? It looks like complete success to me! What is it about human nature that there is such a big letdown after a tremendous success?
I think there is a clue in the text. Isaiah says “…for I am no better than my fathers!” Isaiah is assuming that he made these things happen. Yes, he did pray and his prayers were answered because God loved him and the prayers were in God’s will. But Isaiah makes the mistake of comparing himself to his ancestors as if any of them could have accomplished this feat alone. It was God who consumed the sacrifice, not Isaiah. Isaiah lost sight of that. When we take our eyes of the One who controls the universe, we take things out of context. With great power comes great responsibility. If Isaiah had the power to affect this miracle, he would be responsible for the outcomes. I have made that mistake.
I used to be terribly depressed around Christmas time. I thought I had the power to improve my corner of the world. As I looked around, there were people stealing other people’s Christmas gifts and a host of other nasty things. I could not bear to face the anniversary of my Lord’s birth. I was embarrassed that I had not cleaned up things as if I could. I forgot that God is the One with the power and all I was responsible for was what He asked me to do. I cannot change the actions of others but I can change my heart to be obedient to my Lord. I had to let go and let God! A friend gave me a button that says “It’s not my Fault!” I learned to do what I could and let God do what I cannot. Once I learned this lesson, I was able to enjoy the holidays and do what I can; not what I can’t! I learned to acknowledge the power Source.
Do you ever feel it is enough? Most of us do at times. I ask you to step back and look to the Source of the power. Focus on Him and you can relax and do only what He asks. He never gives you more than you can handle. And if you are overwhelmed, write to me. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Let me remind you how much God loves you. For, just as He did for Elijah, He will come to you. Listen for His still small voice and watch for His provision. You are His child and loved!
Lord, You know how fragile we are. Remain with us in the failures and the successes. When we succeed, we lose sight of the source of the power that created the success. We think we caused the success and become unsure we can repeat or continue that success. Please have Your Spirit remind us of all we are and what we are not. Help us to let go and let You. In your name we pray.