Do you feel like a failure? Has the fear of defeat overtaken you?
Disappointment and frustration. Anger and regret. Sadness and confusion. Failure will impact our lives in some way or another. To change this pattern, requires us understanding the impact that weariness has and how it can affect our health and well-being. Self-defeat occurs when we allow ourselves to get unstuck. Instead of avoiding risks because of fear or self-doubt. Re-wire our thinking to overcome challenges, so that we rise from every fall.
The two things I hope you won’t feel after reading this is …
a) You cannot be flexible –
- Take some well needed time to rest and refresh.
b) You cannot go on and accomplish great things –
- Reflect before boldly moving from being afraid to begin again.
Parallels are drawn from the life of the prophet Elijah to our very day. He came from nowhere, but became the man who stood in the shadow of God. Exhibiting how God took someone ordinary to do extraordinary things. Outlining the same fears and foes we face. Challenges which summarise that without God we cannot confront the future. Elijah’s life displays courage and the spectacular, concurrent with doubt and depression. There is an awakening and stimulation in our thinking as we grasp these similarities for the times we are living in. Read the full story of his life in the Bible (1 Kings 17 – 2 Kings 2).
These 7 pointers examined from this chosen prophet’s life cover a snippet of how failure is not defeat or the end!
1| Where do you find yourself (at this present moment)?
There was a showdown on Mount Carmel. Set in an era where paganism was prevalent. Elijah also known as a mighty prayer warrior, had spoken to the people (1 Kings 18) and asked them how long they would sit on the fence.
Sometimes we may not know the master plan, even though we know the Master! Elijah had hoped given one last chance, many would want to repent. Instead he received a death threat and within a day he was left struggling. From the mountain top experience, where God’s miraculous power was displayed. To a test where he was on the run and down in the dumps.
2| When your faith is being tested, what do you do?
Immediately following the miracle on Mount Carmel, Jezebel threatened Elijah. And in this test of faith, what did he do? (1 Kings 19)
If you are reading this biblical story for the first time, no one expected the mighty prophet (the one who had heard and walked in obedience with God) to run. He suddenly noted his failure and became quite depressed. So different to the courage he displayed in the previous chapter.
Perhaps he expected God to display His power and dramatic power and the people respond in reverence and repent. However this isn’t what happened and the results were Elijah became depressed.
Any of this sound familiar to you? Have you been discouraged, drifting in the wilderness unsure of God’s master plan for your life?
3| Have you prayed a prayer you were glad God didn’t answer?
Elijah had hit rock bottom. And in his depths of despair he cried out to God to take his life. I love the display of God’s mercy, because when we are shadowed by the voices barking in the cellar of our soul. Dashing to some addiction. Choosing to trust our own expectations. Even in all the ways we shun God’s wisdom. He still loves us back to life.
4| How does God respond when we want to quit?
He goes back to basics. To care for our bodies and souls. Our mental and physical well-being. God’s provision is a step by step process. For us to apprehend and trust the time, place and nature of His provision. Yes even in our wilderness.
God’s order to survive and gain the ability to function before He can provide guidance for the next step. Is rest. He knows we are frail, He created our frame. He formed us from the earth (Psalm 103:14) and knows that our bodies need to be cared for before we can function in the task He calls us to! If we are to encourage others, we have to uplift ourselves through God’s word. But sleep and rest is a vital part for our spiritual functioning.
God commands messengers to minister to us. To give us mercy, strength. Here we see a picture of God’s grace to Elijah. An angel woke him up to eat. This was no ordinary appearance. But a divine intervention assuring Elijah that God had a plan and purpose for him. More importantly, God reminds us of that too! Even when we get out of his plan. Drift far away. He personally seeks us out to restore us. How awesome is the love of God’s tender care and capacity of His limitless power. Available to us even when all appears hopeless.
God knows we need to eat healthy. For the nourishment of our bodies and physical strength. Do you recognise this feeling, where Elijah couldn’t focus on anything God was trying to tell him. Because he needed rest and nutrition. In order to function in every area and have a sense of wellbeing, we need to take care of our mental and physical well-being (Proverbs 17:22), if we are to be effective spiritually. Here just like Elijah, God whispers love into the dejected and distant place we find ourselves in.
5| Can you relate to any of this?
God longs to breath into your place of rejection and hurt.
- To turn away from your own strategies to deal with disappointment and hurt, but trust in God.
- To surrender your smartness and self-importance.
- To relinquish your faulty thinking and wrong focus. To stop running from God but to him.
- To realise that God leads us into a place not to outline our failures or defeat, but to instruct and restore us!
God needs us to be strong and restored before He can assign us. Elijah had walked away, followed his own heart. How often do we? Yet God still works on our behalf and gently coaxes us back to himself.
6| Why this isn’t a dead end!
Maybe you have been prolonging your trek in the wilderness. Pursuing your own solutions. Led by your pride or ego. God offers us a chance to admit we are chasing a wrong course. To pivot towards Him. Even when we think God isn’t speaking or working, He is prompting our hearts. The question is are we sensitive to hear His voice? Like Elijah are we looking in the wrong place? Perhaps Elijah expected God to appear in the wind or earthquake or the fire, but God came in a small still voice. Even then Elijah failed to answer God. Can you hear God asking you, ‘why are you here’?
7| Why you are here!
I have often wondered what I would have said if God had asked me that direct question? Would I too like Elijah digressed and focused on justifying why I follow my own path and choose to run in my own directions?
Elijah, the bold prophet, who had previously stood up in the face of opposition, suddenly outpoured all the reasons why not to God.
- Because of a death threat.
- Because he was the only prophet left.
Through his discouragement, God ministered to Elijah, nourished his body, and gave his soul time to rest and refresh. Before assigning him to his next task. And from this we see Elisha in training; Elisha taking the mantle from Elijah because he clung to him and carrying that legacy with a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Concluding Elijah’s ministry as he was carried into heaven by a chariot of fire and horses.This dramatic biography of Elijah strikes me in a different way every single time I read it, and it is my hope you will be inspired.
Where you are is no mistake. God will lead you out of any wilderness and into His will.
- He will allow you to vent your frustrations and direct a path forward.
- He will reveal Himself, what He requires and assign you to a purpose.
- He will evoke you to the place where you surrender your will to His.
- He will use you to influence others in more ways than you can imagine.
- He will call you to His way of obedience and set you apart.
With God there may be delays, but no defeat; some detours but He never leads you down a dead-end street!
Share your thoughts…
How have you received God’s renewal and heard His voice in your wilderness and fleeing; discouragement and rejection?
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