We all experience life’s “ups and downs”…… we have our “good days and our bad days”. This seems to have even happened to giants of the faith, like Elijah the prophet; he hit two extremes in a matter of hours. One of the most extraordinary examples of spiritual “extremes” occurred in chapter 18 and 19 of the first book of Kings. (1Kings 18:20-1Kings 19:1). Elijah conquered the prophets of Baal in supernatural ways, calling down fire from heaven….. incredible. But then he loses all his courage and is exhausted. We read that “he then went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree; and he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers.” Hmmmmm, from a great victory to deep depression in one easy lesson…. “from the heavenlies to a Broom tree” ….. yikes.
Has that ever happened to you? It seems that after we have been part of something extraordinary, we often experience a letdown. You can almost predict it. Perhaps God uses us in a significant way to help someone or do some important deed…we are flying high, operating on a cushion of grace…doing things we didn’t think we could do. And then the grace runs out and we fall like a lead balloon.
Years ago when we were taking care of my dying mother, we all were operating on grace… loving and caring for my mother beyond our own strength. We were operating beyond our capabilities. Yet after her death, we seemed to crash back to earth. Even the simplest things seemed very hard to accomplish… the grace was gone.
What’s the lesson we can learn from these kind of events ? Well, it can be exhausting to love, and after loving someone for a long time under trying circumstances, we can find ourselves “out of gas”…. we don’t have much left to give. I shows that we’re human and need to be recharged. Even Jesus told his disciples to take a break .….. “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while. For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.” (Mark 6:31-32) We need that time alone to regain our strength after we’ve been serving for a time. Elijah needed this time, so did Jesus, so did his disciples, and so do we.
So, let’s not be surprised or “bummed out” when we find ourselves tired and even exhausted at times. It doesn’t mean we’re not doing well or are lazy…it may just mean we need a rest ..maybe under a Broom Tree”. After we’ve been ministering to others, it may be time for the Lord to minister to us. It’s God caring for his friends. And that is very good news.