Years ago, one of our Bible study members confessed that she was absolutely at the end of her rope. Besides full-time work, she was caregiver for younger and older family members with various problems. This woman was so completely overwhelmed, feeling that no one else had problems as bad as hers, wondering where God was…all that. We helped her as best we could that night. And I prayed Psalm 18 aloud. Then the next day…
Of all things, my proofreading work for 5th–6th grade material (!) had me reading a little “formula” that I just had to send on to this Bible study group. It’s from 1 Kings 19, which is right after Elijah’s incredible confrontation with the prophets of Baal. The wicked queen is after him, and he’s at the end of his rope in every way.
I hoped my version of this would encourage my friend in particular, but it seemed useful for anybody.
1. When at the end of your rope, self needs a break. Elijah needed a good meal and some sleep! (1 Kings 19:6).
2. Tell God what’s happening, how you feel (v. 10).
3. Listen to God (v. 12). If you don’t have your own favorite Scriptures, try Exodus 14:13, 14; Psalm 18; Psalm 27; Psalm 23; John 14:1-6; Ephesians 6:10-18…
4. Then act (1 Kings 19:15, 16). For Elijah, that meant to get back into his particular arena—which was with people in high places. He was to anoint an international king, a local king, and a spiritual leader! (I’d never noticed that before.) It seemed to mean that #1, 2, and 3 rested Elijah and cleared his head enough that he would be able to do the next thing he needed to do. (I grant that it might be hard to know exactly what that is sometimes.)
5. Remember that other people are sticking close to God in their own battles (v. 18).
6. Somebody came alongside. Elijah “tapped” Elisha, and Elisha followed and helped him (v. 21).
This all really spoke to me personally. And it clicked with the Bible study gals, including our troubled friend. She responded to all of us the very next day to report that the Lord had sent some special relief/mercies for her.
I thought that was pretty awesome!
(Take another look at Elijah in this post.)