Here’s something to consider. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip. Learn from the mistakes of others; you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself. If it weren’t for stress, I’d have no energy at all. I know God won’t give me more than I can handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much. Can you relate?
There was a prophet in the Bible with “a nature like ours.” His name was Elijah. We would expect a prophet to be perfect but, as usual, the Bible tells both the good things as well as the ‘human things’ about him. After all, he had a nature like ours.
Elijah was zealous for God. He called down fire from heaven in front of Ahab the king of Israel. That created a great victory for God. He expected that Ahab would turn Israel back to God. However, when He found King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, she flew into a rage, determined to have Elijah killed.
What did he do? Elijah ran for ‘his’ life! Observe Elijah’s situation in 1Kings 19:1-21.
Elijah, on the way back from Beersheba to Mount Horeb was ensnared in self pity. It took him forty days and nights to make a journey of what would normally take seven days(two hundred miles). He was moping. Elijah’s the same man who ran sixteen miles ahead of Ahab’s chariot in a blinding rain storm. Previously, he had anticipation, excitement, and hope. Now he was despondent and a heavy hearted. He had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Elijah had high expectations of Ahab confronting the wicked Jezebel. He just knew that Israel would return to worshipping the true God. He knew the drought that had affected the area, both physically and spiritually, would end. He had been waiting three and one-half years for this victory. He was on the mountain top serving the Lord, doing what he was supposed to do. He sensed spiritual victory and break through. Great things were coming.
But Jezebel would not repent or relent. When Elijah confronted her, not only could she care less, she got even harder. She ordered Elijah to be killed. Elijah was exhausted. What did he do? He ran for ‘his’ life. When threatened by Jezebel, what he normally would have been able to handle emotionally, he couldn’t handle. “Take my life…I want to throw in the towel…why God…rapture me…I give up!” Sound familiar?
Did you ever think a wayward spouse would come back home after leaving, living your life for God, they seem to be coming back and BOOM…they get remarried? Did you ever think that person stealing stuff at work would get caught and BOOM…they get a promotion? Did you ever think that person who owed you all that money was going to pay you back and BOOM, they buy a new car or house? That’s how Elijah felt too. Why God? Be careful. This is a set up to be set down.
Elijah didn’t mean it or he wouldn’t have run. It was self pity. Self pity is anger turned inwards. There are four losses that occur when living is self pity.
The first is a loss of perspective. Little things become big, and big things don’t seem important anymore. We exaggerate how we feel. It paralyses us at a time when we need to be proactive mentally, emotionally and physically.
The second is a loss of patience. Elijah ran away from his assignment in life. He ran for ‘his’ life…not waiting on God. When you get nervous a fidgety, be careful. You’re probably getting ready to do something stupid. Self pity leads can lead us to impulsiveness and making the wrong choices.
The third is a loss of personal touch. We get isolated and insulated. Elijah, who should have been ministering to people, ran off by himself. His solitude turned to loneliness. At this point, Elijah needed God’s people more than ever.
The fourth is a loss of purpose. God did not call Elijah in order to kill him. God called Elijah in order to use him for His purposes. “Let me die, let me die.” I’m glad that God didn’t answer his prayer or Elijah would have missed his chariot ride to heaven! This time Elijah didn’t have to run.
Some of us are there. Living in pity city. Licking your wounds, feeling sorry for yourself, blaming everyone else. Your paying a tremendous price. That’s the ‘knitty-gritty’ of living in pity city. And it isn’t very pretty what a person with self pity can do.
Today we saw how we get into self pity. Next week, let’s get out of self pity.
Church-Community Connection is published weekly in 10 newspapers all over the world. Most of these newspapers are local paid subscription newspapers. The goal of these 450 word articles is to build a bridge to the community through humor, wisdom and changing mental perceptions that the community has of the church.