I love Elijah, so I’d be the last person to criticize him. The account of Elijah’s contest against the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18, 19) is a favorite. But something I’d not noticed before was recently pointed out.
After Elijah’s victory, he ran from Jezebel’s threat. “Let me die,” he begged God. And God mercifully refreshed him with sleep, food, and water. But it’s AFTER this rescue and refreshment that Elijah still elaborates on his complaint to God: “I’ve worked hard for you! . . . I’m the only true prophet left! . . . I’ll be killed too!”
That’s 19:10. (His first statement was true; the second and third were not.) Then Elijah repeats it all in verse 14!
Of course Elijah was distressed. He’d been through a lot! But interestingly, after Elijah’s “me, me, me” complaining, the Lord addresses a point or two but doesn’t really do much to acknowledge Elijah’s upset or to comfort him further. The Lord kinda just seems to be implying (from v. 15), “You’ve had your rest. Now it’s time to get back to work. Let’s go. I know what I’m doing . . .” Hmm.
It’s perfectly normal to feel the weight when we’ve dealt with something heavy—and it seems OK even to punch the wall and to complain to/question the Lord about it. (Ex: Jeremiah 12 and Acts 18.) And we absolutely do need relief and rest. But then maybe we should just get back to work and not dwell on “But I . . . I . . . I . . .” The Lord told a reluctant Gideon, “Go in the strength you have” (Judges 6:14). And that strength, of course, is the Lord’s strength. That’s why it’s enough.