Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
1 Kings 19:3-5
American poet Robert Frost wrote: “I turned to speak to God / About the world’s despair; / But to make bad matters worse / I found God wasn’t there.” Maybe you’ve felt that way too. Desperate and downcast from the suffering in your own life or seeing evil appear to go unchecked around you, you may wonder where God is in all of this mess. And when God doesn’t appear to answer prayer, the future looks even darker than it did before.
The prophet Elijah came to a point in his life where he had abandoned all hope. Wicked Queen Jezebel was putting to death the prophets of the true God. The people had turned to worship false idols. By his calculations, Elijah was the last faithful believer left, and now he was running for his life too. Exhausted after fleeing through the wilderness, he plopped himself down under a broom bush and told God that he had had enough. In his desperation, Elijah wanted to die under that tree, but it would have served no good purpose.
Hundreds of years later, a man did die–not under a tree, but on a tree. He was nailed to it by Roman soldiers. His name was Jesus Christ, and his death did serve a good purpose. His sacrifice paid for the sins of all people of all time. It shows how much God loves the people of this world, sinful as we are.
Remember this when you become discouraged by the evil in the world. God has not abandoned us. He has not abandoned you. The sacrifice of his Son proves it. May it give you courage and confidence this day.
Dear Jesus, when I am frustrated with evil and ready to give up, remind me how you gave yourself up to defeat evil for me. Amen.