Summary: Dealing with frustrations from Biblical perspective.
Title: Biblical solutions for our Burnout
Text: 1 Kings 19
Almost everyone in life goes through Burnout in all different forms. Some go through burnout in their professions, in personal life, in family life and almost in every aspect of life. If we need to define burnout in simple terms, it would be mean frustrations, stress, difficulty in coping with the pressures of life and anxiety and panic attacks etc. Well, these real life issues cannot be ignored and has to be addressed in order to find a remedy. The world offers all kinds of possible solutions ranging from an ecstatic holiday to a pub or a discotheque.
Are there incidents in the bible with somebody who had gone through such frustrations?
How have they handled such a condition?
Does the bible offer some remedial measures for such circumstances?
If so what are these remedial measures?
Would these remedial measures help the post-modern generation?
This sermon is an answer to these relevant existential questions.
Profile of Elijah: (The man who went through burnout)
• Elijah was the great prophet of the Old Testament.
• Persecuted by King Ahab.
• Escapes to the wilderness, where ravens miraculously feed him.
• By divine direction goes to Zarephath, where he is sustained in the household of a widow, whose meal and oil are miraculously increased.
• Returns, and sends a message to Ahab.
• Meets Ahab and directs him to assemble the prophets of Baal.
• Derisively challenges the priests of Baal to offer sacrifices.
• Kills the prophets of Baal.
• Escapes to the wilderness from the fierceness of Jezebel.
• Fasts for forty days.
• Despondency and complaints of his frustrations.
• Flees to the wilderness of Damascus; directed to anoint Hazael king over Syria, Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to be a prophet in his own place.
• Increases the oil of the widow of Zarephath.
• Raises the son of the woman of Zarephath from the dead.
• Causes rain after seven years of drought.
• Causes fire to consume the sacrifice.
• Calls fire down upon the soldiers of Ahaziah.
• Foretells a drought.
• The destruction of Ahab and his house.
• The death of Ahaziah.
• The plague sent as a judgment upon the people in the time of Jehoram, king of Israel.
We can talk more of this mighty man of God but he did go through his own pressures of life. The bible tells us in 1 Kings 19, that Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. What surprises me is this – a man who challenged the 850 false prophets gets scared about a word of threat that came from a woman who has not witnessed the event.
The truth is our achievements and success and everything can be void in no minute when an overwhelming personal pressure entangles us. The pressure that our friend had to go through was the pressure of survival. His life was at stake. He ran for life much threatened. The same condition applies to our lives also.
How do we handle such circumstances?
Did Elijah successfully overcome his burnout?
Biblical solutions for our Burnout:
1. BE STILL: Psalm 46:10
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
One of the most difficult task for any normal human beings is to ‘be still’ in times of crises. Generally, when we go through times of trouble we can never be quite we panic more. However, the bible tells us to be still. What does this ‘still’ mean? Let us examine – for example, still photography would mean no life in it. I think the same applies to us when the Lord wants us to be still. He wants us to be in a status of no life with any reactions. I am sure this would help us know the good the Lord has done for us.
In Elijah’s case, he slept under the broom tree and the angel of the Lord gave him bread baked over coal and water twice, our man got up ate and slept. He was rather still after an episode of panic attacks. There is no point worrying about things that are beyond our control since it certainly is in the control of God. No one adds a bit by becoming worried therefore it is ideal for us to be still in times of our frustrations and burnout. This would let God’s name to be glorified in all the earth.
2. TRUST HIM: Psalm 62:8
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
The second aspect is to trust God in times of our crises; I think we rarely follow it since our human mind has the capacity to trust all our resources to resolve the trouble that we are going through. When we examine the life of Elijah – he seemed to exhibit greater trust in God when he believed a cloud to the size of the man’s hand to bring rain on the nation. He failed to trust God when threatened by a woman for his life; he began running and wanted to die since he was not doing better than his ancestors. It is very natural for us to lose out on the trust we have in God. It is easy to get excited when something good happens but very difficult to trust in time of trouble. Nevertheless, the bible tells us to trust God at all times be it good or bad, happy or sad, better or worse. In our human endeavor, we would not mind trusting anybody or any security system and not God - this is an irony. Looking at Elijah’s life, he was able to trust God for the fire of God to consume the sacrifice on the altar with water drenched all over but his trust on God failed when his very life was threatened. This shows our vulnerable nature that is why the bible recommends us to ‘trust God at all times.’