Summary: Sometimes we feel like Elijah - in the pit of despair. The Lord raises us out of depression by 1. Reprimanding Us, and 2. Revitalizing Us.
Have you ever prayed an “I have had enough, Lord” prayer? An “I have had enough” prayer usually comes not long after one or more “what next, Lord?” prayers. We’ve all had times like those in our lives: one thing piling on after another, stress after stress, crisis after crisis, and you might be tempted to say to God, “what next?” And then, after you find out what’s next, when even more problems come your way, finally you reach a breaking point and say something to the effect, “I have had enough, Lord! I’m sick and tired of the way things are, and are you going to do anything about it?”
Have you ever felt like that? If you have, you aren’t the only one. This morning we are going to see a man who was at the end of his rope. And in the verses before our text, he prays and actually tells God, “I have had enough, Lord,” and then he added, “[God], take my life.” You might be surprised to find out who this person was who spoke such a hopeless prayer. It wasn’t someone who didn’t believe in God. It wasn’t someone who was an on-again, off-again believer. This man, who was so depressed that he actually prayed to the Lord to kill him was Elijah, one of the greatest prophets in the Bible. And if he had his down days, we shouldn’t be surprised when we do as well.
So we all get depressed at times. So we all struggle at times. Great, but what help is it knowing that? Not much, until we look at how the Lord is going to deal with us during those times. As we look at this story, you will see that When You Are in the Dumps: 1. The Lord will Reprimand You, 2. The Lord will Revitalize and Refocus You.
In case you don’t remember much about Elijah, he pretty much sums up his life in his first words of our text. “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty.” And that was the truth. Elijah’s frustration didn’t stem from the fact that he had guilt that he wasn’t a hard enough worker for the Lord. Elijah had done everything he was supposed to do and more. He had confronted a king and queen (Ahab and Jezebel) about their sins. Elijah had lived by a stream for a few months, where he had to trust that the Lord would give him food in a place where there was none. God rewarded Elijah’s faith by having birds fly in every day carrying food for him and sharing with him. If you’ve ever had a picnic around some hungry birds, you realize what a miracle it was that these birds shared food with this prophet. Birds sure don’t do that naturally! Once Elijah had prayed for a dead boy, and the Lord brought him back to life. Basketball was originally designed not as a 5 on 5 sport, but you could play it with any number of people. How would you like your odds of winning a basketball game if it were 1 (you) against 450? Well, that’s exactly what Elijah faced on Mt. Carmel. He had a face to face showdown with 450 prophets of the false god Baal. But of course, he also had the Lord on his side, which meant he could not be beaten. Yes, Elijah could honestly say that he had been very zealous for the Lord.