And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. – I Kings 19:1-4
This account takes place immediately following the victorious contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. At Elijah’s request, God sent down fire from heaven, consuming the sacrifice, the altar and even the dirt. The prophets of Baal were destroyed, and the people of Israel proclaimed that Elijah’s God was the one true God. You would think Elijah would be ecstatic, but instead, we see him fleeing for his life and ultimately asking God to end it.
If you follow the story throughout the next couple of chapters, you’ll discover that Elijah was in a deep bout of depression, and in that, he was ready to quit. He wasn’t where God had told him to be, and he wasn’t doing what God told him to do. But God was patient with Elijah and even cared for him during this difficult trial. Still, Elijah seemed to have no interest in serving God any longer, and in accordance with this attitude, God ordered Elijah to go find Elisha and train him as his replacement.
On the surface, this act of God seems harsh, but if you continue to follow out the story, God allowed Elijah to serve Him for another ten years before taking him to Heaven in a whirlwind. In fact, God used Elijah even when Elijah didn’t want to be used. In short, God never gave up on the prophet even though Elijah had given up on God.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I am reminded of just how many things I have for which to be thankful. But above all, the Lord has reminded me that no matter what I do or how far I stray, He will never give up on me. He is with me to the end. Even when I feel like giving up and giving in, He will care for me and encourage me, just as He did with the prophet Elijah. How thankful I am for such a loving and patient God—One who will stand by me through thick and thin, in the darkness and in the light.
That being said, I do not want to give my Lord cause to give up on me. It is my desire that I remain a willing vessel, fit for the Master’s use. I realize that He can use me whether I want to be used or not, but imagine what He can accomplish through me if I am willing and obedient!
Without a doubt, God will never give up on me, but I pray that I can say, with as much confidence, that I will never give up on Him either.