The Prophet who wanted to die
…“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”
I Kings 19:4 (NLT)
Wouldn’t it be great if we could always do what Edgar A Guest encourages us to do in his famous poem, Don’t Quit. But there are times in life when we can be so overwhelmed by pain and problems: when we feel there is no way out and we believe we can’t go on, not for another day, or another hour or even another minute. We want out, now. We quit!
In those moments we may find ourselves wishing we were dead or that we had never been born. It seems that we are not the only ones to have felt like that. What is surprising is that one of the most influential and successful prophets in the Bible, Elijah, felt similarly: ‘ “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” ’ (1 Kings 19:4). To say he was feeling discouraged is putting it mildly and he wasn’t the only biblical hero to feel that way. When his burden had seemed too great to carry, Moses also asked God to take his life.1 Likewise, Jonah preferred to die rather than watch the Ninevites repent and be spared by God.2 Jeremiah and Job cursed the days of their birth.3
How does God respond when our feelings become so negative? Thankfully he doesn’t answer our prayers and end our life. He is the one being we can be real with and pour out our heartfelt feelings to. He understands what it is to be human and to struggle. In the case of Elijah, he sent an angel to minister to him. He understood that Elijah was exhausted and needed a time of solitude where he could rest and eat and rest some more. Then God communicated with Elijah in both a dramatic and a quiet way and sent him out, once again, to get on with the job he wanted him to do.
God doesn’t promise that our life will be easy. He doesn’t promise that we won’t face hardship and yes, there may be times when we feel overwhelmed and want to quit. But he does promise to always be there walking alongside us. He is faithful and the One we can count on.
Our heavenly Father, Thank you for listening to us as we share our deepest fears and hurts. Thank you for always being there and for understanding. Help us get through those dark times when we doubt you and please walk beside us, allowing us to feel your presence. Bless us with your peace, faith and hope for the future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Study by Jackie Mill
1 Number 11:11-15
2 Jonah 4:3
3 Jeremiah 20:14-18, Job 3:1-16
About the writer:
Jackie Mill is a Minister in Grace Communion International and Regional Co-Pastor for Scotland and Ireland
Gilmerton New Church
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