“And he 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
These are difficult and challenging times for the faithful. Like Elijah, who was obedient to follow the Lord’s leading in confronting Ahab and the prophets of Baal, it’s tough to accept that instead of things getting better as a result of our obedience, they seem to only get worse. What makes it even harder is when it feels like you’re standing all alone. This, again, is not unlike Elijah’s day when rather than rallying around what God was doing, the people were stalled, uninvolved, and aimlessly “limping along between two opinions” (1 Kings 18:21). Even after God displayed his power on Mount Carmel, and answered prayer for rain, complacency still gripped the people and Elijah had to flee for his life. Depleted and worn out, he crawled under a broom tree and just wanted to die.
Sometimes we too become weary in well doing. We see little results from our efforts, while others around us are neglecting or jettisoning their faith all together. It can cause us to just want to hide away ‘under a broom tree’ and give up. Then, in a humbling way it dawns upon us that God’s own Son perfectly obeyed and revealed to us the way of salvation; and the world, instead of applauding and adoring him, mocked him, rejected him, unjustly accused him, and heinously executed him. Yet, this seemingly dark defeat was no defeat at all. It was a part of God’s glorious redemptive plan and through it all the Father’s love and care was always with his Son. This was especially evident on that dark night before his crucifixion when the angels attended to him. As the Father loves the Son, so he loves and cares for us. We can trust he is at work, even in the darkness.
God sent an angel to Elijah as well. He provided water and even baked him a cake. Knowing just how exhausted Elijah was, twice the angel prepared him a meal and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” Being obedient and faithful in our journey is ever too great for us also. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. It says that Elijah ‘went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights.” How much more, in feeding upon Jesus, our sweet cake/bread of heaven, will we be strengthened to really live now, and forever more (John 6:56-58)?
So, today I pray that you and I will resist the pull to grow weary and give up. That we will realize that we are not alone, that God is at work even in the darkness, and in Jesus we can have our life-empowering Cake, and eat it too!
Thanks for meandering along with me,