stress signsWe all know people, maybe ourselves, that are so stressed out that we feel like giving up. We have nothing left to give. Before you throw in the towel, I want to show you the process that God gave to Elijah.

I shared in an earlier post the things that caused Elijah stress (What gives you stress?). So in this post I want to share with you the answer. When we are feel like giving up, God will help us. Notice the four things God did for Elijah in 1 Kings 19:1-22. 

#1 – Rest.

God let Elijah sleep. God didn’t preach at him. But He did give him food and let him sleep. Our bodies were designed for rest. Just like you can’t keep driving without stopping at a gas station to refill, your body and mind need to rest. If you don’t take time to rest, your body will collapse. Take a healthier approach and incorporate rest into your life. Don’t be afraid to slow down the pace of your life. Take time for quiet and rest.

Not only did God give Elijah rest and food, but He also gave him exercise. Evidently Elijah walked a lot. It’s about 200 mile walk up and down mountains from Beersheba to Mt. Horeb (Mt. Sinai is its other name). He had already walked 150 miles from Mt. Carmel, the northernmost area of Israel, to Beersheba, the southernmost area of Judah. He got as far away from Jezebel as possible. But it also great exercise.

#2 – Rediscover God.

When we’re under stress we think the world is against us. And God seems so far away. Elijah ended up in a cave near Mount Horeb. God asked him what he was doing there. God didn’t ask because He did not know the information. God knows everything. God asked to get open the lines of communication. After Elijah’s response, God revealed Himself in many powerful ways. But then in a quiet voice, Elijah came out of the cave to encounter God. When Elijah heard the soft voice of God he came out of his cave of self-pity. Like Elijah, we need to get out of our cave and rediscover God. We need to be quiet to hear God’s whispers that He is still in control. It’s hard to hear God when life is noisy.

#3 – Reassignment.

After rest and time with God, Elijah got a new assignment. He would anoint some men to be leaders – kings and prophets. Do you notice what God did? He got Elijah’s thoughts off himself, on to God, and now others. God was saying, “I have things for you to do. You are still important to Me.” God gave Elijah a fresh start. He failed, but was not a failure.

#4 – Relationships.

What God provided Elijah was a good friend, Elisha, These two ministered side-by-side until Elijah was taken to Heaven. God designed all of us for relationships and to live in community with others. Yes, it can be a challenge. But it is not good to be alone. I think there is no more effective way to deal with emptiness than to be in contact with someone else who understands what we’re going through. Some of you are under stress because of the fractured friendships or family in your life. Broken relationships break us. If you are experiencing some kind of conflict, do what it takes to make them right. True reconciliation is one of the most powerful of all human actions. Do you need to forgive someone? Then do it. Do you need to ask for forgiveness? Then do it.

elijah-cave1Elijah was burned out. He was running on empty and found himself ready to end it all. He needed rest and nourishment so God provided him sleep, food and exercise. He needed a fresh understanding of God, so God revealed Himself in a soft whisper. He needed a sense of purpose, so God gave him an assignment. He needed some close relationships with others, so God gave him a friend.

Let’s face it. Most of us are tired. We’re burned out and stressed out. We’re running like mad down the treadmill of life. But God wants us to slow down. He wants us to reach out to Him so He can adjust the speed of our lives.

I want to ask you the same question Elijah asked the nation of Israel in 1 Kings 18:21 –  How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” Some of you haven’t decided one way or the other for Christ. Choose today.

I also want to ask you the question God asked Elijah: What are you doing here? Some of you are on the sidelines. Others of you are in the cave of self-pity. My challenge for you is this: don’t stay where you are at. Get out of the cave and let God give you and assignment.

God likes you just the way you are but He loves you too much to let you stay that way.

What has God done for you when you feel like you are ‘running on empty’?