1 Kings 19-20
Have you ever been hiking on a strenuous trail or baled hay on a hot summer day? These tasks can prove quite difficult as your muscles become strained, you become overheated, and your endurance slowly dwindles. The idea of stopping and taking a nap or just quitting all together sounds very tempting. It seems like the best thing to do, but you have to keep going.
I remember one day when I was unloading a wagon full of hay bales on a hot and humid summer day. There were about 60 hay bales to unload and stack in the barn. About halfway through, I started to get tired. I was hot from the bright sun. I was itchy because of the hay that covered me, and I had rope burns from the twine on the bales. I was ready to be done, but I couldn’t stop. Rain was coming in that evening and I had to get the hay under cover before that happened. So, I kept going until my task was finished.
In 1 Kings 19, we find Elijah at a point where he is ready to give up. He is on the run again. Jezebel wants him dead, so he flees from her grasp. But he is tired of running and having to look over his shoulder. He felt like he could not continue in this way any longer. Those before him had been put to rest and he says he is no better than them. Therefore, he asks God to let him die.
Rather than letting him die, though, God sent him sustenance through an angel. Bread and water were offered to Elijah that he might have the strength to continue. So, he went to sleep again and then the angel appeared once more providing more food. This food gave him the strength he needed. For without it, he could not have made the journey. It was not yet Elijah’s time. There was work that he still needed to do, and God gave him the strength to do so.
Sometimes it can be hard to carry on with our tasks, but God is there to strengthen us. Like a cool glass of water at the end of a hike or when baling hay, God is there to sustain us. God was there to strengthen Elijah and we too can be strengthened through God.