If there was ever a man who knew the hand of God’s power on his life and ministry, it was Elijah. And if there was ever a time in which he saw God’s power mightily displayed, it was when he called down fire from Heaven on Mount Carmel. Yet, if there was ever a time when Elijah hit rock bottom, it was at the foot of Carmel—just after the greatest victory of his life.
“And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and…went a day’s journey into 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.”
Shocking, isn’t it? Or perhaps it is familiar.
We live in a culture that demands a level of speed, urgency, and pressure which humans cannot sustain indefinitely. Combine that with the spiritual warfare in which every committed Christian is engaged, and you have a drain on your resources that requires purposed, frequent replenishment.
When we find Elijah under the wilderness juniper, he was so depleted that he himself didn’t know how to replenish and didn’t even see it as a possibility. Yet, the next several verses reveal God’s tender care in renewing the strength and passion of His servant.
God’s gracious provision for Elijah reveals three ways that you and I can likewise find the replenishment we need to serve for the long haul.
1. Find Solitude
“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness…” (1 Kings 19:4).
Elijah was not a man of half-hearted effort. For years, he had invested himself completely in service to God, but he was now completely spent. He needed time to recuperate from the battle.
Is solitude foreign to your vocabulary? Before you hit rock bottom, take time periodically to disengage and to renew your hope and strength in the Lord. You simply cannot sustain a breakneck pace without making sufficient solitude part of your routines.
“And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree….and laid him down again (1 Kings 19:5, 6).
It may sound unspiritual, but Elijah needed sleep—good, solid rest. God built us with the need for sleep, and when we neglect this basic necessity, we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed and defeated. If you are running on sub-standard levels of sleep, take God’s prescription for Elijah—rest.
3. Receive Nourishment
“…then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink…And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and 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” (1 Kings 19:5–8).
When Elijah hit bottom, God dealt so kindly with His weary prophet. Elijah thought he was permanently done in, so far gone that requesting to die seemed his best option. But God understood his overtaxed, depleted state and gave him the rest and nourishment he needed to renew his strength.
Do you find yourself on a treadmill of activity, unable to take time for solitude, rest, or balanced meals? Learn a lesson from Elijah—make time to replenish.
This article originally appeared on the Pastor’s Perspective, and is an excerpt from the book Stewarding Life which will be available in June.