Enjoying the Journey
We all get tired. Even the Lord Jesus in His perfect humanity experienced weariness. (Read more about that here.) The best of men in the greatest of works battle fatigue. Take Elijah for example. No, not the prophet calling down fire from heaven. Not the man enjoying God’s provision by the brook Cherith. Not the minister raising the widow woman’s son. Look at him depleted and desperate in 1 Kings 19. Body overworked. Nerves on edge. Just tired.
God’s preacher had just experienced one of the most amazing victories in history. Mount Carmel would forever be a point of reference. Disillusionment often comes just after great blessing.
He travels many miles to Beersheba and then another full day’s walk into the wilderness. The king and queen are hunting him like an animal. He feels very much alone. Sometimes the most draining weariness is not physical but emotional. Proverbs 18:14 says, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”
It is at this point in the story that Elijah becomes an example for us of what to do – and what not to do – when you are tired…
- Be careful what you say.
Thankfully, it was to God alone that Elijah spoke. “He requested for himself that he might die” (1 Kings 19:4). Ever been there? Death seems like a relief. Escape would be better than life.
Of course, Elijah was speaking out of emotion, out of exhaustion. I am so grateful God has not answered all of my prayer requests! When you are tired, be careful who you speak to and what you say.
Pastor Sexton once told me that discouraged people always overstate their problems. And we all get discouraged.
- Don’t make decisions.
In his exasperation Elijah cried, “It is enough; now, O LORD take away my life” (1 Kings 19:4). The problem is that only God knows when enough is enough. He was not done with Elijah.
When you are tired do not trust yourself. You may not be thinking at all like God is thinking. Life altering decisions should not be made when you are weary. Wait on the Lord.
God let Elijah sleep. What a beautiful gift sleep is. (More on that here.) It is a reminder that I can rest because my Lord is still at work. “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2). Give it to God and go to bed!
Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is rest. In Elijah’s case it took two naps to restore his strength (1 Kings 19:5, 7)! There is no substitute for quiet. Renew your body and your mind and heart will be in better shape.
Some of you are thinking we do pretty well with this one! In truth, sometimes we get so busy that we are not giving proper attention to our physical needs. Our fast pace keeps us from getting what we need. The angel of God fed Elijah personally (1 Kings 19:6-7). Earthly provisions are Heaven’s blessings.
It was in a period like this when the disciples had no time even to eat a meal that Jesus took His disciples apart and said, “rest a while” (Mark 6:31). Everyone needs down time. Time to think and to be ministered to. This is not a sign of failure; it is a sign of humanity. We are but flesh. God remembers that (Psalm 103:14), and it is good for us to remember it too!
- Spend some time in quiet listening to the Lord.
God would take Elijah 150 miles away to a cave in Horeb. Alone. “And, behold, the word of the LORD came to him” (1 Kings 19:9). Words of correction and words of encouragement came to him there. It came as “a still, small voice.” We live such whirlwind lives that we miss the still, small voice of God.
Hudson Taylor once testified that he came to a place where he was too tired to pray. But in that weakness he said that he could just rest in the Lord. Sometimes we are so weary we cannot even put our thoughts into words. Instead, meditate on some word from God. Ponder a promise. Think on a great truth about God. Soon you will find the strength to pray again and to go forward for the Lord.
You may be tired from some event or thing that is now past. Remember that God has a future for you. He did for Elijah – some of his most important work. Weariness is not the end. It is God’s way of bringing us to a new beginning.