“Then he traveled through the wilderness …and wanted to die. “I’ve had enough now, LORD,” he said. “Take my life! I’m no better than my ancestors.” … God said, “Go out and stand in front of the LORD on the mountain.” As the LORD was passing by, a fierce wind tore mountains and shattered rocks ahead of the LORD. But the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the LORD wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire. But the LORD wasn’t in the fire. And after the fire there was a quiet, whispering voice.” (1Kings 19:4-12)
Have you ever been so depressed that you have asked God to take your life? I have. But thank God, in His mercy, He doesn’t. This was Elijah’s’ state of mind. Consumed by overwhelming grief and depression, Elijah told God that he was done and asked God to kill him.
It is hard for us to understand why Elijah could be in such a state of utter despair, following the epic battle of God verses a false deity. Obviously, God is victorious, so what’s the problem, Elijah?
Elijah, like us at times, doesn’t see how God can use this event for good. Elijah, after such a great effort, probably thought to himself, “Does all THIS really matter? I’m utterly spent. I’m wrecked to the core and for what? My life’s-work doesn’t mean anything to the people I am serving. I am supposed to be a witness, a radiant light for His glory and nobody cares. Why? Besides, any gains that God has achieved through my life have been slandered by that contentious woman and she will destroy me in the end. I am alone. I don’t have anybody; not one soul to pray, support or encourage me. Alone, alone, alone! My whole life is a failure. Why? I have no reason to live. I give up. I don’t care anymore. Kill me, Lord”
Elijah could have, would have, should have died, but God showed up. God came not to kill him as Elijah had demanded, but to care for him. God loved Elijah so much that He came with a plan to rescue him. After getting his attention with a tornado, an avalanche of rock, exploding boulders, an earthquake, and a fire of some kind or other, God gently and patiently whispers encouragement in Elijah’s ear. Honestly, it takes a lot of work to get our attention sometimes, doesn’t it? And yet, God creatively, lavishes his love on Elijah. In a small and quiet voice God whispers, “Elijah I have a job for you. There is a fresh work to be done and by the way, I will provide a companion to help you. Don’t worry, you are not alone because there are many other faithful people who you can encourage and will encourage you. You are not forgotten. I AM”.
I am so thankful that God always shows up when we need Him most. If you have questions or are seeking God during Rosh Hashana and Yamim Norai’m, the Days of Awe, God will let you find Him. Further, I know from personal experience that God is big enough to handle our puny anger – so don’t be afraid to take that to Him as well. God is the Almighty, Eternal One, after all.