THURSDAY 28th MAY 2020
Good morning friends,
How are you today? I just realised that I have been in lockdown for 67 days.
At the beginning I wondered how I would manage to keep going, but as the days have gone by I realise how this time was actually much needed.
When I look back to just before the imposed time of self isolation I see how tired and uptight I was becoming. I was becoming short tempered, but also anxious about how well I was doing my work here.
None of this good for my mental well-being, or the well being of those around me.
I am not the first nor will I be the last to feel like this, and I can’t even begin to imagine how stressed and anxious those who are in the front line these days caring for those affected by the corona virus.
Long time serving or caring, can often lead to long time feeling of great stress......burn out.
Of course it’s nothing new, and we see a classic example of this in the life of the prophet Elijah, a servant and spokesman for God.
In 1 Kings 19 we see a very stressed out Elijah.
In the previous chapter he called down fire from heaven proving that there is one true God. He then put to death hundreds of false prophets that were leading God people astray. In chapter 19 Jezebel, the queen, learns that Elijah killed all her false prophets and she is angry. She sends threatening notes to Elijah and Elijah panics and flees to the wilderness.
"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.” 1 Kings 19:4
Elijah is so overwhelmed and burned out that he asks God to let him die. He was so distracted by the circumstances and his current state that he had a desire most people have when burned out. He wanted to escape.
For him it was life in general that he wanted to escape, but who hasn’t felt this way to some degree? You’re exhausted and you just want out. You want to run away. You want to stop.
Elijah also says “I am no better than any that were before me. I have failed.”
A false sense of failure is also a common side effect of burnout. He is in a place of desolation. But look at God’s beautiful response to Elijah’s condition.
"Elijah lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God." 1 Kings 19:5-8
God promises over and over in scripture that He will never leave us. David even said he couldn’t get away from the Lord even if he wanted to.
" Where could I get away from your presence?
If I went up to heaven, you would be there;
if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.
If I flew away beyond the east
or lived in the farthest place in the west,
you would be there to lead me,
you would be there to help me" (Psalm 139:7-10)
God also really stresses that He will be near to us when we are hurting and when we are carrying heavy and crushing burdens.
When Elijah flees to the wilderness, God is there with him. He sends and angel to be with him and to minister to him.
Know this today, whatever your circumstances, you are not alone. God is near you. God cares about what you are carrying. Take time today to be still for a while in his presence.
Jesus said,” Come to me, all you who are weary and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.”
There’s a wee saying I give to people when they come here to find some rest and I offer it to you today.
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths or the turning inwards in prayer .......for five short minutes,” (Etty Hillesum)
Go well into this new day, God bless you.
the turning inwards in prayer .......for five short minutes,” (Etty Hillesum)
Go well into this new day, God bless you.