It’s been one of those days.
I LOVE MY FAMILY..but today, I’m tired. I’m tired of constantly picking up toys. I’m tired of laundry. I’m tired of cleaning spilled milk from cereal off the floor. I’m tired of not being able to go to the bathroom by myself. I’m tired of not being able to eat anything without little fingers demanding it from me. I’m tired of the ear-piercing screaming from my son. I’m tired of kids not getting along. I’m tired of not feeling appreciated.
To everyone reading this who may be thinking “yea, yea I’ve heard all these mommy woes a thousand times” – stay with me. I do have a point other than just needing to vent some frustration.
I’ve been reading a book by Steven Furtick called Crash The Chatterbox. There is a section in this where he sheds a light of interpretation on a popular biblical story that I had never seen before.
In 1 Kings 19:1-3 we read..
“Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.”
I don’t blame him. If someone spoke words to me like what Jezebel (the King’s wife) said to him, I would probably run too. What makes Elijah’s running seem a little strange is what had just happened prior to Jezebel’s threats.
You may be familiar with the story…
At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”
Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there. (1 Kings 18:36-40)
Elijah had just called down fire from heaven! And if that alone isn’t impressive enough it says that the fire did not just burn up the sacrifice, but it ‘licked up the water in the trench’.
God showed up for Elijah – big time!
Wouldn’t this seem to be an ultimate confidence boost? Wouldn’t this make the threats of a crazy, evil, God-hating Jezebel seem kinda piddly in comparison?
You would sure think so!
So why in the world is Elijah “afraid and running for his life” from her?!?
Furtick suggests that Elijah is not running for his life; but rather he is running from his life:
“Although the text says Elijah ran for his life – and I’m sure that’s how it appeared – it sees like something deeper is going on. In fact, I’m not sure Elijah was running for his life at all, at least not in the sense we would use that phrase. I believe Elijah was actually running from his life.”
“His greatest fear at this point isn’t dying. His greatest fear is living – and having to fight yet another agonizing battle.” – Steven Furtick, Crash the Chatterbox
Now I’m not trying to compare these little battles I face as a mom to that of Elijah’s – but they do sometimes leave me with feelings of doubt and discouragement that make me want to run from them.
Motherhood is one of the many ministries the Lord calls His people to that have seasons of difficulty. Seasons that take a lot of faith and courage. Persistence and endurance. Selflessness and sacrifice.
Sometimes, it seems like it would be much easier to give up and run away then to run the race he sets before us.
So how do we stay in the fight when giants of doubt and discouragement lurk in the corner arena of our minds?
Well….thankfully, there is more to Elijah’s story. 🙂
During his little detour, we see a couple things happen:
#1 The Angel of the Lord appears to Elijah, provides him with food and says to him:
“Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. (1 Kings 19:8-9)
Application: Eat up the Word of God
Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. His Word is sustaining strength to us. His Word is our sword (Ehp 6:17). We can not expect to do battle without storing it up and allowing it to transform our minds us. Period.
#2 The Lord comes to Elijah with a gentle, confirming whisper
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” (1 Kings 19:11-13)
Then, the Lord confirms what he is to do:
The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
Application: Wait in His presence. We need to wait for His gentle whispers that remind us and confirm to us our calling.
Those moments when I feel I want to ‘run from my life’ it probably means I’m lacking nourishment. I need to STOP and eat up the strength of His word and wait for His affirming whispers that renew my sense of purpose in that which He is calling me to.
When I do this, He is always faithful to provide that fire I need to love and serve my family..or any other work He would have me do.