What can we learn from Elijah’s struggles?

1 Kings 19:1-4 – Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself 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.”

Despite seeing God bring fire down from Heaven, and then rain, oppression came over the man of God, Elijah, when the demonic queen Jezebel threatened his life and put a curse on him, and he was gripped with fear and anxiety, running for his life for several miles. Laying in the woods, he told God that he just wanted to die. 

This is one of the godliest and most powerful men in the Bible on one of his darkest days. The scene goes to show that even the godliest people sometimes have real mental, emotional, and spiritual health struggles.  

Elijah is spiritually depressed, meaning he is overwhelmed and depleted in all areas. 

Physically, he is simply worn out and exhausted following the adrenaline letdown he was experiencing following a demonic battle and run of at least 10 miles followed by an additional long hike to hide in the wilderness. 

Spiritually, the demonic battle he fought has his soul disoriented and exhausted. 

Mentally, he is ground down by the constant attacks and threats and can no longer process information in a healthy manner. 

Emotionally, “he was afraid”, and unable to operate in faith and likely under attack from the demonic “spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7). 

This amazing man of God was still just a man as James 5:17 (TLB) says, “Elijah was as completely human as we are”. 

What should comfort us in this scene is that Elijah had run from everyone, but God pursued him, not for rebuke but for recovery. We’ve all been where Elijah was, and thankfully our God is patient with us, moves past our worst moments, and comes to help us get to a better version of ourselves. The world desperately needs more people who follow His example. 

Get a journal and process some significant struggle in your own life by writing your own prayerful lament to God.

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