Journal Entry // August 30, 2022
1 Kings 19:5
And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” (ESV)
At this point in the story Elijah has concluded that his journey as a prophet is at an end or maybe that he wants it to be at an end. So when his life was threatened, he ran and hide himself. In his hiding place, he asked that the Lord take his life as he had had enough and was ready to be finished. So, in his despair and fear he sought isolation and in his isolation he sought for an escape from the frightful thoughts that only brought anxiety. The escape he found was in sleep. He lay down and slept under the broom tree. The Lord sent an angel to feed and encourage him, but Elijah once again chose sleep once he was fed. The Lord sent an angel a second time to feed him in preparation for his next journey. You can see that Elijah is at the end of his mental and physical limit or at least he believes he is at the limit. The Lord wants to stretch him more and begins preparing him for the journey even when Elijah himself will not. The kindness and goodness of the Lord is on display for Elijah to awaken and rejoice. Yet, Elijah chooses to escape through sleep and there avoid any action or responsibility that is required of him.
I see this same pattern at work in my life at times, maybe even now to be honest. Having come out of an intensely emotional spiritual struggle, where the Lord was working to correct and rescue me, I was tired at the end and even so now. I had spent all of my physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual capital in dealing with the trials meant to rescue and reform me. Like Elijah, I was at an end and I was praying this same prayer, “It is enough.” I was done or maybe a better phrase was that I just wanted to be done. I retreated into isolation and sought to escape for a time through sleep. I wanted to avoid having to confront and think through this continual working of the Lord in my heart. It was overwhelming and I just wanted to rest and sleep. So I too laid down under a broom tree in the wilderness. I too was wanting the Lord to end the trial and set me on an easier restful casual path that has a gentle downward slope.
The Lord was and is gentle with me just as he was with Elijah. In this state of sleep and avoidance and an unwillingness to prepare for the future journey, the Lord also provided for me. He has awakened me at times from my slumber and fed me. Calling me to arise and eat of the good food of his grace and mercy. To taste and see the loving kindness of my tender Father. I would rise and eat and be satisfied but the thought of the journey continuing terrified me and still terrifies me. There seems to be no apparent end in sight. It all seems so overwhelming at times and I just want to retreat and sleep. I want to give in to the false comfort of just staying where I am, simply for the sake of not having to move forward and deal with more disappointment or adversity.
The Lord has more in store for me. I know this. I understand this. I realize that the Lord is not done excising the deeply rooted sin that still clings to my heart. Like a master gardener, he has been trimming back and pruning different areas of my life that were diseased and overgrown with weeds and harmful diseases. I know that he will not just wipe it all away in a moment. I know this slow and steady pathway of sanctification involves a lot of hard and difficult moments filled with a multitude of critical decision points. I know that the Lord is teaching me one specific character trait… humility.
Humility is the goal of this process and he will not be done with me until I understand and embrace humility in all areas of my life. Am I willing to humble myself before the Lord and rightly view my weaknesses as the canvas to display the power of Christ in me? Am I willing to be meek and humble with everyone I encounter along this path? These are the continual questions I am asking myself at this time. It is all a simple matter of rightly understanding that I am just a mere vessel of the Lord. He is the Creator and Sustainer and Provider of life. He will use me as he sees fit and in whatever manner best displays the glory of Christ in and through me. This is the end of the matter. Lord, wake me from my slumber and give me the strength to continue this journey of learning humility in Christ alone for all things.