It might as well be now…

Posted on Posted in Ministry, Nurturing Ourselves

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“I’ve had enough,” he told the Lord. “Take away my life. I’ve got to die sometime, and it might as well be now.”

                                 1 Kings 19:4 (TLB)

Have you been discouraged recently? 

Has ministry become difficult instead of the joy it once was? 

Has the life you are living become a burden instead of the blessing it was in the past? 

This life we have been called to is not easy.  When we look at others, it seems like they have it all together.  We look at other women in ministry and they seem to have endless amounts of joy and patience.  We look at ourselves and see the times we have lacked patience and the days that joy has seemed far away.

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Our pastor preached a sermon on Sunday from a passage in 1 Kings where Elijah battled discouragement to the point that he asked God if he could just die. 

“I’ve had enough,” he told the Lord. “Take away my life. I’ve got to die sometime, and it might as well be now.”

                                 1 Kings 19:4 (TLB)

Wow!

So I spent some time in this section of the Bible. 

What I found was a bit surprising. 

This utter discouragement came just after he had seen miracle after miracle – including the miracle where God showed Himself Lord over all the earth in front of 400 prophets of Baal. 

Just prior to his dark night of the soul, God had delivered bread and meat to him via ravens.  God had sent him to a widow’s house to eat, and her jar of flour and oil never became empty while he was there – and God raised her son from the dead through Elijah. 

And then that whole prophets of Baal contest.  They prayed and danced and wailed all day long in front of their altar and sacrifice and it never started on fire.  Elijah drenched his altar and sacrifice with multiple jars of water not once, not twice, but three times until it filled a trench of water.  He then prayed and fire fell and consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, the dust and the water.  Fire, consuming water!  Water usually puts out fire. 

And then God brought rain once Elijah prayed for rain.

All of these amazing things have just happened to Elijah.  Have you been here? Are there times when ministry is really going well?  Things that you never thought would happen, do happen.  You can see God in the midst of what He has called you to do. 

And then. 

Then there is a circumstance that you have prayed about repeatedly.  And God doesn’t answer you the way you were hoping.  Maybe no answer at all.  That long silence.  Your heart whispers that God is saying no.  You pray and there is silence.  You may be afraid.  Of what your circumstances will be like if God’s silence is really a no.  You see only the difficult and the ways in which you have failed.

Look at Elijah in 1Kings 19:4 and 5. 

“He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all – to just die:  “Enough of this, God!  Take my life – I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!”  Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.  (MSG) 

And look at what God does.  “Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat.”  So, after eating and drinking and getting some sleep, he walks for 40 days and 40 nights to get to the mountain of God. 

And God speaks to him.  Not in the wind, not in the earthquake, and not in the fire.  But in the whisper.  God spoke in the whisper.  And strengthened and encouraged Elijah and told him that He still had work for Him to do.

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We can learn from this.  We may have times of great joy in ministry.  God may not answer all of our prayers.  We may become discouraged even in the midst of what God is doing.  It may feel hopeless.  We may want to give up and go home – die to our ministry.  It is a difficult place to be.  Are you there today?  What did God do when Elijah was at that point?  He sent an angel that made sure that he slept and ate enough to be rested and nourished for his journey.  At the end of that journey, God spoke to him in a whisper and encouraged him, telling him that he was not alone, and that He had more for Elijah to do.

Are you getting rest? 

Do you get enough sleep each night? 

Are you getting nourishment in order to strengthen yourself for this journey? 

Are you eating healthy? 

Are you listening for God’s whisper? 

Are you in the Word every day?  Not just to check off a box on your To Do list, or a quick read of a chapter – in and out. 

Are you spending time reading, reflecting, meditating on His Word, studying words and phrases and letting His whispers feed your soul?  Time with the Lord will nourish you for the journey He has you on. 

In John 15 (verses 1-5) it says that we are to abide (dwell) with Him so that we can bear fruit.  And it also says that if we bear fruit, he will prune us so that we can bear more fruit.  Nourish yourself with the Word of the Lord, be aware that He will prune you – in order for you to bear more fruit.  Do not be discouraged to the point of the death of your ministry.

Blessings,

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Blessings,

Julie

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