Finding God in Your Pain
There is a great story found in 1 Kings about the prophet Elijah. When we pick up his story in chapter 18, we find that the entire nation of Israel had backslidden from God. Ahab, their king, and his wife, Jezebel had led the nation into idolatry. Yet God used Elijah in a mighty way to turn the nation of Israel back to God.
He used Elijah to shut up the heavens. Then God used Elijah to open the heavens. He also used Elijah in a miraculous way to display His power and glory to defeat the false prophets and to bring the nation of Israel back to worshiping God. Elijah had been the tip of the spear to cause all of these things to come to pass. Life was one victory after another!
But then in 1 Kings 19, we find Elijah—the same Elijah who had experienced God’s supernatural hand in such miraculous ways—running for his life and even becoming suicidal because Jezebel wanted him dead. It was at this critical and difficult time in his life that he needed some fresh direction from God!
Perhaps you are in a very stressful or critical time right now. Perhaps the difficulties and pain of life seem too much to bear and you find yourself needing fresh guidance from God. If so, I want to share one thought with you from Elijah’s story that I believe will help you realize that God is, in fact, there for you in your pain.
That thought is found in 1 Kings 19:5-8, where we read,
Then as he [Elijah] lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.
One practical lesson we learn here is to consider that perhaps the very real problem you are facing is that you’re just sleep-deprived and not eating right. You need to understand that your body, soul, and your spirit are all tied together. What you do to one affects the other two. We are intricately woven together. So perhaps the wisest thing that you could do today is to give your body a rest, because it is affecting every other part of your life. Get a good night’s sleep and eat a good meal!
If you read through the full story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19, it’s easy to see that he was absolutely spent—both physically and emotionally. The best thing he could do was to replenish his resources through rest and a good meal.
There is also a second application to this point that I suggest you consider. If you look at this story from a spiritual standpoint, the bread represents the Word of God, and the water represents the Spirit, or prayer.
If you are in a crisis and you need to hear from God, saturate yourself in the Word of God. Like Elijah, eat the Bread of Life, and then eat some more. Pray, and then pray some more. Just saturate yourself in the Scriptures and find time—a lot of time—to pray. It’s amazing that if you will do these two things, God will begin to speak to you.
So if you are in a crisis, make sure you take care of yourself. Get some rest and eat right. And make sure you are feeding on the Bread of Life and spending time in prayer. Then you’ll be ready for your instructions from the Lord… and you’ll be able to find Him in the midst of your pain.