He traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. –1 Kings 19:8 NIV
Twice in my adult life I ran away from home. I just needed to get away by myself for a while and hide from the disappointments, ongoing issues, life pressures, and perceived failure that had driven me to an all-time low. The issues, I knew, wouldn’t magically disappear when I returned, but a time-out, I hoped, would refresh, renew, and restore my energy, enthusiasm, and dreams.
The first time I went to my brother’s home in Alabama for a week. There I read, rested, ate nutritional food (the only kind they keep in the house), prayed, and rested … oh, wait, I said that. But resting my body, mind, and soul were vital to recovery, restoration, and renewal.
The second time I fled to a mountain cabin that was a special place when I was growing up. Now owned by close friends, the cabin is a healing place. There I rested, sat on the porch swing and listened to the wind in the trees and the birds squawking, put together a jigsaw puzzle, read, and ate microwave meals because I didn’t want to cook. After only three days, I was ready to return home.
The thing about running away: there’s something you’re running away from and something you’re running to.
I wonder—when Elijah fled Queen Jezebel, did he consciously set out for Mount Horeb?
Also known as the mountain of God, Horeb, better known as Mount Sinai, was the place where God called to Moses out of the burning bush with a challenging assignment and where, not too long after, He gave Moses the Ten Commandments. And it was here He met Elijah.
He was gentle with his overwrought, exhausted servant.
Exhaustion affects us not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Exhaustion skews our perspective and judgment. So God addressed Elijah’s exhaustion first by giving him rest and refreshment.
Then He asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Note that when Elijah answered God, he magnified the problem and minimized the good. Isn’t that what we tend to do when we’re exhausted and overwhelmed?
Then God gently corrected him, instructed him to return to his ministry, and gave him a helper.
Notice what God didn’t do:
- He didn’t desert him.
- He didn’t chastise him for lack of faith.
- He didn’t tell him to man up.
- He didn’t preach a sermon.
- He didn’t tell him that things weren’t as bad as he thought, that he had a lot to be thankful for, that he should be ashamed of himself . . . yadda, yadda, yadda.
- He didn’t release him from his calling.
What God did do was nourish him, sustain him, counsel him, and instruct him.
Just as God met Elijah at his point of deepest need, He’ll meet you at yours.
What are you running from? Who are you running to?
Where is your Mount Horeb?
Thank You, loving God, for meeting me at my point of deepest need. Amen.
Read and meditate on 1 Kings 19:1–18.
© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.