By Chaplain (Maj.) Daryl Densford
Special to GUIDON
Elijah was one of those Old Testament prophets who was bigger than life.
He boldly confronted the political and religious leaders of Israel and successfully challenged their false gods. On one occasion, he actually put to death Israel’s false prophets after defeating them in a challenge between their gods and Elijah’s God.
After the slaughter of the false prophets, the queen of Israel committed to killing Elijah, so Elijah fled into the wilderness. We read in 1 Kings 19:4 that he became so distraught over Jezebel’s threat that he prayed to die.
Elijah seems to have forgotten how God miraculously consumed not just the sacrifice but also the wood, stones, and soil around the altar during his competition with the prophets of Baal just a few days before (1 Kings 18). He also seems to have forgotten how birds miraculously brought him bread and meat to eat and how the flour and oil in Zarephath never ran out (both in 1 Kings 17). Elijah lost sight of God’s power and provision and was willing to just lay down and die.
God had not forgotten Elijah though. When he was ready to give up, God was there.
In this instance, God sent an angel to give Elijah bread and water to eat. So, good was the bread God provided that Elijah was able to go on the strength gained from it for forty days.
How often do we allow our circumstances to get us down? Like Elijah, it is easy for us to forget all the good that God has done for us when we are in the midst of trouble. Like Elijah, we may sometimes feel like just laying down to die.
But just as God did not forget Elijah, He does not forget us. When we face the troubles of life, God has a way for us to get through them. When we feel like there is no way out or that death may be better than living through our circumstances, God is ready to help. But like Elijah, we have to accept God’s help. God may not send birds or an angel to show us he is there, but our simple prayer, “God help me!” will open the door to his aid.
(Editor’s note: Densford is the chaplain resource manager at the Fort Leonard Wood Religious Support Office.)