A person I know one day asked , “God, why don’t you just zap me off the face of this earth because I am nothing but a worthless failure? Can you forgive me for failing You?”
She was fighting confusion and rejection, trying to figure out where she belonged when she felt like she didn’t belong anywhere. She had the greatest desire to serve the Lord, but it seemed no one else wanted her to.
Not knowing how to comfort this person, I sought guidance from the Lord. He put the word despondency on my heart and led me to 1 Kings 19.
Despondency means to be in a state of extreme discouragement, dejection or depression. It means having lost all or nearly all hope.
In 1 Kings 19 you find the prophet Elijah running into the wilderness, fleeing for his life from Jezebel. Once in the wilderness Elijah said “it is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” (1 Kings 19:4) The Lord took compassion on Elijah and sent an angel to minister to him, giving him food and water.
So many look at Elijah as being THE greatest prophet in the days of the Old Testament it is hard to believe that even for a moment he would feel like he was not good enough to continue serving God. But Elijah saw that Jezebel would continue to spew her poison to the people of God and he felt his work was fruitless.
Then someone asked me, “Why didn’t God get angry at Elijah, the way He got angry at Jonah for running away? God was even so mad at Jonah that He put Jonah in the belly of a whale.”
True, the Lord called on Jonah to go to Nineveh, and Jonah fled to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. God sent a great wind and storm on the sea which shook the ship he was on fiercely and made the every man on the ship afraid. Relenting, Jonah told the men to throw him into the sea and they would be safe. So the men on the ship prayed to the Lord to save them and threw Jonah into the sea. The storm calmed and the men made sacrifices and vows to the Lord and went on their way. Jonah, however, was now sinking into the depth of the sea.
But God took compassion on Jonah. So many believe and have been taught that God put Jonah in the belly of the whale as punishment and nothing more. But God is slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, gracious, compassionate, and relenting of evil. Even Jonah says this in Jonah 4:2.
And when I read the story of Jonah, I see that God used the whale as a tool in order to get Jonah to dry land. God took mercy on Jonah and saved his life. The prayer Jonah raised to the Lord while in the whale is a psalm of thanksgiving. In the prayer Jonah says, I was sinking and called out to You, Lord. You heard me, Father, and You saved me.
So many people don’t see the softer side of God. They don’t see God in the little things and, don’t listen to the still soft voice of the Lord. It seems to take a gentle shaking or even a kick in the rear to get people’s attention, sometimes. They see God in the catastrophes, but not in the blessings that can bring peace. Some even blame God for every bad thing that happens and never take time to thank Him for the good.
Even Elijah looked for the Lord in the powerful events. After crossing the desert, Elijah made it to the mountain, seeking the Lord, God told him to stand on the mountain before the Lord. At first, when a great wind came and was breaking the rocks Elijah thought the Lord was in the wind, but he realized the Lord was not in the great wind. Then an earthquake came and Elijah saw that the Lord was not in the earthquake, and next came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire either. It wasn’t until a gentle breeze came that Elijah recognized God being there.
Elijah may have felt he was not as good as those before him, but something maybe Elijah didn’t see is that each of those before him had their limits. Each one had a point where they felt they were not good enough.
It is in our weakness that God’s love is perfected. It is at our lowest times that we call out to God with all our hearts, when we lean on Him all the more.
We must, especially in our lowest times, keep an open heart to recognize the Lord in His gentleness. We must be willing to allow God to have compassion on us and minister to us in His very special way.
My advice to the person who felt like a failure to God…. allow God to shower His love on you. Trust in Him and praise His holy name for He truly is an awesome God!
God loves us so very, very much. But are we willing to allow that love to shine down on us?