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. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. 1 Kings 19:3-5
Elijah hits a breaking point. God miraculously provides for Elijah (such as feeding him daily by ravens—see 1 Kings 18) and uses Elijah in mighty ways. Elijah knows what it is like to be on the mountaintop. But he also knows what it is like to be in the valley. And after an extended season of demanding ministry and emotional tax, something snaps. Elijah wants out. He can’t do it anymore. And he honestly prays that God would end his life.
Elijah’s breaking point teaches us many things. (1) Some of the godliest people to ever live have experienced deep lows, to the point that they despaired life itself (consider, for instance, Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9). (2) It is in these deep lows that we are to turn to God. Elijah was despairing yet still trusting. He prayed and did not give up. God often uses such emotional lows so that “we might not rely on ourselves but on God” (2 Corinthians 1:9). (3) Elijah’s honesty reminds us that we can open up with God in prayer about the sorrows of our hearts. This is the practice of lament, which is essential for navigating a breaking point well.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Journal a prayer of lament. A lament is a prayer of sorrow or disappointment. Everything did not go as planned for Elijah. And the same is or will be true in our lives as well. Take some time today to put words to disappointments. If Elijah and Moses (and Jesus!) can express their heartbreak to God, we can too. Consider using a shorter lament, like that found in Psalm 13, as a guide for writing your own.
2023 SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Join us all of 2023 developing a different spiritual practice each month. SPIRITUAL PRACTICES are intentional regular activities to deepen our relationship with God and mold us to be more like Jesus.
September is COMMUNITY. Keep track of our spiritual practices at beyondtheweekend.org/spiritualpractices.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.