Cover 2016-08-28

Ron Re-Writes

Ever Get the Blues?

Ever get discouraged? Ever get down? Feel burned out? Have the “blahs?” I have to admit, I have felt despair. Life is certainly not a constant high.

After Elijah’s great victory with the prophets of Baal, he became discouraged. There’s that natural let down after a big event. James says that Elijah had a nature like ours, so fortunately, he can teach us a thing or two about discouragement (1 Kg. 19).

See if any of these points sound familiar:

Elijah ran (vs. 3) and ended up by himself in a cave (vs. 9). Discouragement can cause us to run away from our problems. We want to isolate ourselves from others. Have you ever wanted to just get away and start all over? Running only makes matters worse. God got Elijah back active and involved in the ministry again (vs. 15).

Elijah said, “It’s enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” He just wanted to die. Have you ever felt like just giving up? Elijah’s distorted reasoning was that everyone dies, so why not now? He was wrong. He never died, but was taken up to heaven in a flaming chariot (2 Kg. 2). He saw himself as a failure. We see him as one of the great men of faith.

“He lay down and slept under the Juniper tree.” He had run for miles. “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” (Vince Lombardi). He was tired, exhausted, all alone without food or water. Our spiritual state is often affected by our physical condition. Lack of sleep or improper diet might be a factor in our discouragement. Just how busy are you? Take care of yourself!

God wanted to know why he had run and hid in a cave. His response, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” Notice the distorted focus. He had forgotten all about the victory! He exaggerated his own importance and then he focused on the negatives. The sure path to discouragement is thinking about the negatives and finding fault. Feel blue? How is your thinking?

He said, “I alone am left.” He felt worthless and alone. Discouragement causes us to exaggerate our troubles. Of course, he was not alone. God was there. Actually, from a human standpoint things were 7,000 times better than he thought, for God had 7,000 who had not bent their knees to Baal (19:18). One of the biggest lessons here is that discouragement distorts reality.