Recently I have been studying 1 Kings in the Old Testament. The stories of Elijah the prophet intrigue me. I marvel at his bold courage as he taught truth to those who would not believe.
After he calls upon the Lord to slay the priests of Baal, he finds himself alone and hunted. It must have felt so overwhelming to have to continue his ministry in this manner. The scriptures paint us a picture of his heavy heart:
But he himself went a day’s journey unto the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 19:4
I marveled at this, because of the immense faith he had to have to call down fire from heaven…and yet, he was tired, alone and heavy.
After he uttered this prayer, he laid down and went to sleep.
Like all of our prayers, his was answered…but not how he thought he wanted it to be answered.
Twice an angel of the Lord awoke him and told him to eat a cake that had been miraculously baked and drink of water placed by his head. As the angel woke him the second time, the angel said, “Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.” And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.” 19:7-8
As I read, “the journey is too great for thee” my heart was profoundly touched. Rather than taking him, the Lord sent him strength in the form that Elijah needed the most. He gave him food for his soul and, a short time later, a friend who would sustain him.
There have been times in my life that I have asked that the path that I am on be changed and my burdens be taken from me. I have begged for relief and the dawn of peace to come. I too, have laid down to sleep when I have felt my strength spent.
Like Elijah, the Lord has answered my prayers, not in the way that I thought I wanted them answered.
There have been countless blessings of “food” and “drink” for my soul that have miraculously come when I had nothing left to give, when the journey was too great for me.
As I have worked on softening my heart through repentance and gratitude, He has blessed me with ‘eyes to see’ the things that He has done for us. He has given my heart a deeper understanding of the growth that He needed us to experience. He has shown me that He is in every aspect of our lives. His miracles are real.
I can honestly say that I am truly grateful for a path that has been too great for me, because it has allowed me to see His hand in my life. I am thankful for all of the struggles, because I now see that He delivers us every time. I am thankful for the ‘night’ that has allowed me to see the little bits of light that I would have overlooked before.