_Last week_, we were encouraged by the story of Elijah. He felt alone in his faith and sometimes being single we feel the same way. But there is another valuable lesson we can learn from this passage.
Let’s recall the story quickly. The great prophet Elijah brought down fire from heaven to prove to the people that God is the only one they should worship. At the same time, He destroyed the 400 prophets of Baal. Queen Jezebel decides to take revenge. She threats Elijah’s life who then fled into the wilderness. There discouraged, he told God he wanted to die because he felt he was the only one who kept the faith. God encouraged him: no, he was not alone. If Singles feel lonely because they are keeping their standards of purity, they should be encouraged because they are not alone. There is a special person somewhere, with the same standards!
There is an important detail in this story that we did not mention last week. Just before talking to Elijah God first allowed him to rest and using an angel, he gave him nourishment (1 Kings 19.5-9). Elijah had just done an extraordinary act and had slain 400 false prophets. This is a pretty barbaric act in our modern point of view, but it surely was physically demanding for Elijah. Receiving a death threat from the bloodiest queen in the world had to be completely draining for him emotionally. In short, he was exhausted body and soul. No wonder he began to have dark thoughts.
It’s the same for us whether Single or not. When we are totally discouraged from looking at our social status. When we find no joy in seeing our friends get engaged. When we abandon our standards just to end our celibacy, it may simply be because we are exhausted. Being single can be physically demanding in that we can only count on ourselves. It’s especially demanding emotionally. Discouragement could be inspired by the enemy, or it might simply be because we are exhausted.
When discouragement comes we can take authority and refuse it, but when that isn’t working, it’s time to take a break. Maybe you need a vacation from work. Maybe you need to take a pause in your search for a partner. Maybe you’re even too busy giving yourself to the ministry or your family. It’s good to stop and rest sometimes. Do as Elijah did : lie down under a juniper tree and let an angel feed you! Well maybe not have an angel feed you, but you can cook yourself a good meal and go to bed a bit earlier for few days. Cancel all your evening meetings for a week or two, take same time off work if possible and pamper yourself a little bit. Find back your strength, your peace, your joy, and then end this time of rest with a good appointment with God. Pour your heart out in His Presence and then let Him encourage you, and give you solutions.
It is what Jesus told his disciples to do when they returned from a long evangelistic journey. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6.31 NIV). When we are discouraged or in despair sometimes we are just exhausted. Sit down and talk with Jesus. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11.28 NIV)
(Admit it: just reading this message made you feel better, no? Then imagine what a warm bath will do, or a nap in the afternoon, a massage, etc.)