So, in recap from part one, being a hot mess isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We have all been there. It’s what we all have in common; what bring us together.
And it’s what brought God near and Jesus down to save us.
So we get the idea in our heads that we will live… let me hear you say it with me… happily ever after. I mean isn’t that what Disney tells us? We find the handsome prince, get married and life is a piece of cake from then on.
Or, in our case, like the religious people of Jesus’ time, Jesus will come and save us and set up His rule and reign, and we will live… one more time… happily ever after.
So, what, we’re never supposed to be mad or worried or frustrated? Shoot Jesus had all those emotions Himself. I’ve are never been worried enough to sweat blood, and I’m sure none of you have either.
Interestingly enough, there is a story in the Bible that talks about depression, anxiety to the point of suicidal thought and a need to just run away as fast as you can. And it comes on the heels of the hugest victory in his entire life.
In 1 Kings 18, we see our prophet Elijah defeat all the prophets of Baal in front of, not only the king, but also the entire country was watching. Such a great success. He should be on top of the world, praising God for His miracle and shouting God’s glory to the entire world!
But then, there’s Queen Jezebel. She’s mad. Her god was Baal, and she’s so upset he was defeated and all her so-called priests were defeated. We pick up in chapter 19 where Jezebel sends someone to tell Elijah she’s going to kill him by the next day!
And you would think, you would totally suppose that Elijah was all pumped up. Coming on the heels of such a huge showing of God’s power, he’s got to be ready for anything, right? But no, sadly this was not the case.
He’s exhausted mentally and emotionally and spiritually. The day before took the snot out of him and he is back at the foot of the mountain, so to speak. So what does he do? He decides to run. Fast and far.
Where is the faith he had just yesterday? Where is the hope in God? Where is the boldness he had when he stood up to those 700 prophets of baal? Out the window, just gone.
And doesn’t this happen to us, too? We have this great win and we think we are going to stay high up on the mountain top and never be down at the bottom again. After a victory, we forget to put on the armor again the next day, I mean, we won, right?
But we forget the battle is never ending, it’s a war, not a once in a lifetime thing. And we completely fall apart, just like Elijah. I’ve done it, and if you’re honest, you have, too.
But Elijah’s break down is huge! To the point of just stopping and giving up under a tree. And he’s got suicidal thoughts (1 Kings 19:3-4), he just wants to die. He’s virtually coming apart at the seams.
His body is out of fuel and his mind is shutting down. This is physical emotional, mental and spiritual.
The Bible is filled from cover to cover with men and women who have struggles with their emotions and their feelings and have been honest about it. In today’s culture, we have stats.
1 in 5 U S adults experience mental illness.
1 in 25 adults live with severe mental illness.
1 in 5 children ages 13-18 will have or already have serious mental illness.
Suicide is the leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24.
90% of those who died by suicide had underlying mental illness.
Depression is the leading cause of disability world-wide.
You are not the only one. You are not alone.
I love this quote from a preacher I recently heard. “We live twenty minutes from the so-called ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ and yet our local neighborhoods are filled with the most unhappy people on earth.” Now that’s a powerful statement and so sad in its truth.
We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s a health diagnosis. Perhaps a personal failure of sin. Even huge successes can be draining on us, even suffocating.
The good news is: God wants to meet you right there in the middle of your mess. Like the desert where He sent help to Elijah.
He loves you too much to leave you in the middle of your own mess. I thank Him daily for saving me from mine!
So let’s look at the very first thing God did for Elijah.
“It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” 5 He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.” 6 Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8 So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. 1 Kings 19:4-8
Notice it’s after Elijah acknowledged that he was desperate that God sent Elijah food. We have to acknowledge our problems, our deepest hurts and regrets and shames to God. He already knows what we need.
God knew Elijah’s body needed food and energy so he could begin to clearly think again. And God has already provided the “food” we need to get our minds working properly again. So we read in Matthew 4:4
” 4 But He (Jesus) answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
So after we cry out to God, the next thing is to get into the Word, the bread, the manna God provides for our every day health in both mind and spirit.
And there are some other things we need to look at in the desert where we happen to have run to on our own. We will look at those issues and decisions in part three…
So today, ready your bread, get your energy to fight back. After you have cried out to Jesus for help, for understanding and comfort. Don’t forget, He just wants you to come.