Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness.
On a day’s hike to Whiskey Hollow, near Markham, Virginia, I clocked about 20 miles, the equivalent of a “day’s journey” in the Bible. Though worn out when I arrived, I was pleased to have put some distance behind me.
Elijah’s experience after a day’s journey was quite different. Entirely spent, he collapsed under a bush. He was physically, emotionally, and spiritually shattered. Before sinking into sleep, he pleaded with God, “I have had enough. . . . Take my life. . . .”
Elijah had just come from a fierce battle with the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18). Now he was fleeing for his life from the wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. In response to Elijah’s utter exhaustion and desperation, God sent an angel to provide water and warm cakes. When Elijah finally revived, he walked another 40 days and nights to Mount Horeb. There God spoke to Elijah and met with him, telling him the plans he still had for Elijah and for others to do. God gave Elijah renewed hope for the future.
In our own lives, we too can count on God to meet and refresh us in our times of distress and collapse. In fact, God already has done that for us through Jesus, who offers us rest for our souls and salvation to new life (Matthew 11:28-30). We can trust him with every step we take.
Lord Jesus, in our times of desperation and need, renew and sustain us as we journey through this life. Amen.
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