A CURE FOR WHEN THE PREACHER GIVES OUT
BY PAUL D. MOONEY
Preachers are not supposed to get discouraged. So goes the popular myth. But the truth is, they do. This can be quite serious.
Take Elijah, for example. In Chapter 18 of First Kings, he’s stomping on demons, demanding an audience with the King, challenging the people to make a decision, defying the false prophets (850 strong) with his own sword.
In Chapter l9, he is crippled by self doubt, he’s in fear of one misguided woman Jezebel), has a loss of nerve, and is overwhelmed with a death wish, praying that God would take his life. What happened? How could one so strong become so weak?
Although the text doesn’t say, the story certainly reveals that Elijah was trusting God in Chapter 18 and depending on the anointing. In Chapter 19, he’s face to face with his own humanity. As a God-dependent man he’s unstoppable; as just a man, he’s overwhelmed by his weaknesses.
One should note further that he clearly shifted his attention from the positive to the negative. Verse three says “when he saw that.” The shift in focus was a factor in his frantic sense of loss. Look for trouble, you get trouble. Look at things as if they’re impossible, you’ll come to believe they’re impossible. Elijah had a vision problem. Without God’s intervention, his death wish might have turned to suicide. Who’s to say?
The cure? The good news is, there is always a cure. Read Chapter 19 carefully, and you’ll discover four separate elements that I believe God brought to Elijah’s life to serve as a road to recovery.
First rest and food. Ministers, and God’s people in general, should never underestimate the value of rest and relaxation. Sleep will
renew the mind and the body, God requires it (Sabbath.) Jesus was an advocate of R&R by example. He rested–as is demonstrated by his several mountain or seaside retreats.
Secondly: God gave him a new perspective on himself. God probed him with questions as to what he was doing. Think about who you are. Don’t forget what you have been called to do.
Thirdly: God showed him not to take anything for granted. God may move in an unusual way (still small voice.) Look to God, but let God be God. Let God’s way unfold in your life.
The fourth element of Elijah’s cure was to get up and to do something. God gave him something to do (anoint certain men.) A sure
way to get better if one is depressed or weary is to become active. Do something. Inaction breeds depression and loneliness. Arise and go. Passivity will crush life from every opportunity.
One exciting addition to this curing of the down and disappointed prophet–God gave him a helper. Elisha, the Bible says, ministered unto Elijah. The lesson here is clear. Get up, get moving, think right, get a vision–God will send you help. Stay negative, speak despairing words, and you likely will walk alone.
The above material was taken from the Indiana Apostolic Trumpet, February, 1998 issue. Bro. Mooney is the Indiana District
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