May 9 | Daily Devotion

May 9 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

Even the greatest of men have their breaking point. Elijah has just won a great victory before the nation and on behalf of God. He witnessed the power of God like no other before him, embarrassing the king and killing 450 false prophets. He’s the Time magazine cover model for “most influential person” in the nation! But Elijah’s mood quickly turns from elation to depression. The queen wants his head so he’s on the run. He is tired, hungry, and discouraged. Even after all this work, Ahab and Jezebel are still in power and the people are still worshipping idols. What’s the use?!

In an odd way, it is encouraging to know that the best of men and women sometimes struggle. Martin Luther, who took his stand on the Word of God and against the evils he saw in the church, wrote a forthright and compelling letter to a friend not long after his great victory: “I sit here at ease, hardened and unfeeling “”alas! praying little . . . It comes to this: I should be afire in the spirit; in reality I am afire in the flesh with lust, laziness, idleness, sleepiness. For the last eight days I have written nothing, nor prayed, nor studied. I really cannot stand it any longer. . . Pray for me, I beg you, for in my seclusion here I am submerged in my sins.” (Martin Luther to Melanchthon, July 13, 1521). Yes, great men and women sometimes grow weary and discouraged.

What should we do when weariness and emotional malaise set in?   Well, sometimes it is important to simply get some rest! That is exactly what God told Elijah to do, eat and sleep. Fatigue can wear a person down and distort their perspective on life.   I know it doesn’t’ sound very spiritual, but sometimes the most important thing a person can do when he or she is discouraged is to rest.

However, there is more to the encouragement in today’s reading than simply a prescription for bed rest and good nutrition. After Elijah is back on his feet and ready to continue his journey, God teaches him a lesson. Even though the prophet feels alone, and thinks that God is not working, he is mistaken. Sometimes God works in quiet ways behind the scenes. Elijah is wrong to think God has abandoned either him or the nation of Israel. Sure, things are tough, but God is still at work, even if Elijah cannot see it. Sometimes God is present in a whisper, but His whisper is no less powerful than His roar.

When you are discouraged, know that you are not alone. Get some rest, and remember that God is often at work in the everyday, the normal. He has not abandoned you or any of His people. He is still the great I Am.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the Senior Pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.