18 Dec A Whisper In Your Weariness
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Sister Miki Terayama - 18 December 2022
Weekend Devotion: A Whisper In Your Weariness
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We all love the idea of being strong, resilient and invincible. We love to work on our strengths, finding recognition in it and feeling good about ourselves. However, human fragility is a reality we face in life. What happens when a “big missile strike” happens in the middle of our peaceful and good days? What happens when we are just too depleted and weary to stand against the toils we face? May Prophet Elijah’s account give us insight and encouragement today.
Sufferings in Prophet Elijah’s life
We all know the glorious and powerful story when Prophet Elijah challenged King Ahab’s false prophets of Baal by sending down a rain of fire to consume the sacrifice before a great crowd. He was a bold and passionate servant of God but in a turn of events, after Queen Jezebel’s threat to kill him like the rest of God’s prophets, he was overwhelmed with fear. He fled for a long distance, before he sat under a bush and prayed to die. In 1 Kings 19: 4, Elijah prayed, “I have had enough, Lord. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Now, what happened to his former unshaken boldness and trust in God’s leading? Now, it may seem that Elijah has a significant drop of faith into despair, but the reality of his fear and limitations should not be a surprise to the lot of us. In fact, he made a very human response, having faced a great spiritual battle, he was now drained and feeling defeated from this long wrestle with King Ahab and Jezebel. So how will Elijah be delivered from such a dire plight? In hiding, fear and depression?
From Weary To Ready
Now, there are much lessons we can learn from Prophet Elijah and God’s character here in 1 Kings 19.
Firstly, even though Elijah was in a despaired state, he still turn to speak to God. And he told God honestly about how he feels and how his faith was dwindling. Now, in life, we would probably have our own moments where we “have had enough”. Now, Satan, the accuser, hurls accusations, bitterness, hopelessness and insinuations in us, but he cannot take away the shelter we have in our God Most High. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” By the grace of God, what He does, does not depend on how capable or incapable we are. And these moments of despair are telling us one important thing, we are insufficient but only God is. We need God, in every moment of our lives.
Secondly, we see the restorative character of a loving Father for His limited child. When we feel down, it is usually because we have some form of unrealistic expectation of ourselves that is unmet. Some form of perfection or strength that we cannot meet. And because of that, we dwell so much in those “self-insufficient” and thoughts of failures, that we start to doubt God’s works and forget His former grace and help. But God knows our limitations and in Elijah’s case, God responded to his distress signal with His gentle touch to first restore Him. 1 Kings 19:5-8 says, “All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.” God knows how much we can bear and what we need most in our valley moments. So He provides the right kind and portion of resources for us. Here, Elijah was worn down and weary, so God provided Him first with the rest and the food supplies for nourishment, so that he can move on to travel to the place God calls Him to- Mount Horeb. In the darkest moments of our life, it challenges us to face our human limitations and our need for utter dependence on the Lord. It has a redeeming and restorative purpose.
Finally, we see a God that partners and enables us in the best way understandable and doable for us. God showed that He knew just the way to reply to his weary servant’s confession of feeling defeated by 3 expressions. First, to remind Elijah of the power of the Lord he serves, God unleashed a great and powerful wind that shattered the rocks on the mountain. In the second expression, God sent an earthquake, then in the final expression, God sent a blazing fire. However, in verses 11-12, God was not in either of these mighty expressions. But in 1 Kings 19:12b, God’s voice only came to Elijah through a gentle whisper. God’s message to Elijah was not in some big signs or wonders, but in the still, quiet voice of a loving Father. Now we at times also seek for God by finding some big and loud signs, but what could God be whispering to us instead, today? Is our God a God that merely wants to help us resolve our personal problems after problems, or is there a greater reason that He wants us to move on and engage in the right direction or calling He has for us? After restoring and comforting Elijah, God did not let his servant be side-lined for too long. The Lord quickly commissioned Elijah to new work, to push him into doing the next right thing. As you will read in the later part of 1 Kings 19, he was called to anoint kings, raise up his apprentice Elisha and because Elijah said he was the only prophet left, God encouraged Him that there are still 7000 people who have refused to bow down to Baal (verse 18).
Sometimes, you and I, we too lose strength in our own fields, but God’s power stands and can give us the portion we need to carry on for His purposes and glory.
Brothers and sisters, God often allows His children little opportunities to recognise how much we are in need of His presence and help. As Psalm 103:13-14 says “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him, for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” God understands our limitations and supplies us accordingly. But we however, have to really shed the illusion we have on self-sufficiency, self-will and man-made strength. Today, do we trust that God has made us to be weak in all the right places and all the right reasons so that His glory and power can be remembered and manifested in our faith? How are we being drawn near to God through the revealing of our limitations? God calls us to seek Him and He sustains us as we do so. Let us, like Elijah, hear the Lord’s gentle whisper in our weariness. God bless.