Summary: God shows up in the chaos of life.

Title: When Life Feels Bleak Press 4, 6, 3

Text: I Kings 19:1-15

Thesis: God shows up “in” the chaos.

The message on the answering machine at a mental health clinic says, “Hello, and welcome to the mental health hotline.

• If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.

• If you are codependent, please ask someone else to press 2 for you.

• If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5, and 6.

• If you are paranoid, stay on the line and we will trace your call.

• If you are delusional, press 7 and your call will be transferred to the mother ship.

• If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a voice will tell you which number to press.

• If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

• If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

• If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

• If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

• If you have low self-esteem, please hang up. All operators are too busy to talk to you.

• If you are depressed, it doesn’t matter which number you press, no one will answer anyway.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 10 American adults or approximately 21 million people suffer from depressive illness ever year.


21 Million Americans feel hopeless, sad, discouraged and empty. Many are unable to experience pleasure and nothing is of interest anymore. Some loose weight while others gain weight. Some suffer from insomnia and others hypersomnia. They may feel physically drained, worthless, guilty, and distracted. Depressed people may have trouble making decisions, be angry or frustrated by little things or they may be unresponsive to anything.

Life, from the perspective of a depressed person, can feel very bleak. I suspect that the main character in our story today was just such a person. This week I spent some time thinking about what precipitated Elijah’s downward spiral into despair?

Elijah was a career prophet… he was God’s spokesman to the most powerful person in the kingdom, who just happened to be a king who made it his practice to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord. The bible says that he did more to arouse the anger of the Lord than any of the kings before him. I Kings 16:30-33 Elijah’s job was to go head to head with the king.

Elijah was the man who broke the news to King Ahab that his kingdom would be ravaged by drought and famine for the next several years.

Elijah was the man who lived a meager, subsistence existence as the guest of a destitute widow woman and her son for three years. I Kings 17

Elijah was the man for whom the king had put out an all points APB for his arrest. The bible says that the king searched every nation and kingdom on the earth from end to end to find him. I Kings 18:10

If this were a contemporary story, Ahab would have enlisted the help of Dog, the Greatest Bounty Hunter in the World… He would have hired “Dog” Duane Lee Chapman and the posse, to track Elijah down.

Elijah was the man who challenged the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah to a spiritual duel of sorts. They had what may be likened to the Shoot Out at the O.K. Corral on Mt. Carmel, which culminated with Elijah calling down fire from heaven to, as Elijah put it, “…prove that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant.” I Kings 18:36

Elijah is the man who called for and orchestrated the execution of all of the false prophets of Baal and Asherah…

Elijah is the man who prayed that the drought would end “as a heavy wind brought in a terrific thunderstorm,” he ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way back to the city of Jezreel. I Kings 18:45-46

Elijah is the man who was then the recipient of hate-mail from Queen Jezebel who vowed, “May the gods also kill me if by this time tomorrow I have failed to take your life like those whom you killed.” I Kings 19:1-2

As our story unfolds this morning, Elijah, afraid and fearing for his life, flees into the wilderness. At this moment in his life, Elijah seems to loose all sense of perspective as he perceives his prospects as being pretty bleak.

I. Life can feel very, very bleak.

He sat down under a broom tree and prayed, “I have had enough, Lord. Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” I Kings 19:1-4

• Elijah was afraid. I Kings 19:3

• Elijah was alone. I Kings 19:4a

• Elijah was isolated. I Kings 19:4b

• Elijah was exhausted. I Kings 19:4c

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Browse All Media

Related Media

Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion