A few weeks ago I stood on the ruins of Beersheba, in Israel, from which point you have an unobstructed view south, deep into the Sinai desert.
I imagined a discouraged Elijah standing right there, after running with his servant for over 100 miles from Jezreel, with Jezebel’s signed death warrant fresh in his hand.
The threat on his life wasn’t anything new. Most of the prophets of God had been assassinated by Jezebel already and Elijah had been on her watch list for a long time.
What was different this time was that Elijah had just come from the national revival at Mt. Carmel. He had witnessed fire from heaven, heard the people profess The Lord as their God, prayed down the rain that broke a three-year drought and had run, in front of Ahab’s chariot, over 26 miles, all the way to the king’s summer palace in Jezreel.
He had been so sure the revival would be a turning point for the nation and the monarchy.
But it wasn’t.
The national repentance lasted no longer than the drought-ending rain shower and, on top of that, Jezebel’s counter-attack was swift and merciless.
Elijah’s next move was so typical of most of us when we are discouraged.
He isolated himself.
He insisted his faithful servant stay in Beersheba while he headed out into the desert.
One day’s journey on foot, into the stiflingly hot, barren wilderness, and Elijah sat down under a tree for some shade and said those words to the Lord that have come out of my mouth many times.
“I have had enough, Lord.” (1 Kings 19:4)
I heard a powerful conference message the other day about the difference between expectation and expectancy, for those of us who serve the Lord. The speaker said expectation is when we have in our minds the what and how of ministry outcomes. And when, like in Elijah’s case, they don’t happen the way we expected, we set ourselves up for discouragement… maybe even anger towards God for not coming through.
The conference speaker said that living in expectancy is a day-to-day, moment-by-moment anticipation that God is at work always, that He is fulfilling His purposes in you and me and that He will advance His kingdom purposes in all situations, including the ones that don’t turn out the way we had hoped or prayed for.
Expectancy is living with eye-opened faith and confidence that God IS working and we can’t wait to see what He is going to do with the circumstances in our lives.
Turns out for Elijah, God was still on the throne and actively working on His plans and purposes for Israel and even the neighboring nations.
But when Elijah got to Mt. Sinai, still overwhelmed with discouragement and despair, he was unable to find God in the usual dramatic ways a prophet typically would get a word from the Lord. [There is a whole sermon there I am going to have to pass on for now.]
When God finally breaks through Elijah’s cloud of discouragement on Sinai, Elijah learns that he is far from done and that the door is open to even greater ministry for him in the days ahead, including a fourteen year investment in the next generation of Israel’s prophets.
If you are at a breaking point…
If you feel like you have had enough…
You are NOT done!
Draw encouragement today from the God of Israel.
Live in expectancy that the God who called you to Himself IS working even now in your situation and will give you His assignment for what is next.