“Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 1 Kings 19:7
We often hear, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” That’s not true. God never gives us more than He can handle. Life can seem overwhelming when we look at our circumstances without taking God into consideration. Anytime we depend on our abilities, rather than His, we end up in a weaker spiritual condition. Like Elijah, we might even sink into despair and hopelessness.
It’s important to remember how Elijah got here—fear. God’s courageous prophet had just called down fire from Heaven. Yet Queen Jezebel’s threats sent him running into the wilderness, begging to die (vv1-4). You see, fear and anxiety always distort our thinking. We start to question why God is allowing a particular difficulty instead of depending on Him to handle it. And we start to sink.
Notice that God comforted before He corrected. Elijah was tired and hungry. So, the Lord dealt with his physical symptoms before confronting his spiritual condition. He provided food, rest, and encouragement (vv5-6). Isn’t it good to know that God meets us exactly where we are? When we’re physically and emotionally empty, we’re not in the frame of mind to hear the Lord clearly.
Getting the help we need often requires slowing our minds and bodies down. The problem is, we’ve forgotten how to rest. The constant motion of our culture naturally generates anxiety. From time to time we need to tap the brakes on our activity level. We need to stop and focus on getting rest and nourishment.
Of course, it seems impossible to slow down when we attempt to handle life in our own strength because we’re franticly trying to fix each problem. But we can’t deal with the root problem until we deal with the symptoms. And if we aren’t rested, we’ll hear God’s corrections as condemnation.
Does life feel like more than you can handle right now? You’re right, but it’s not more than God can handle. He knows exactly where you are, and He knows it’s too much for you. So don’t wear yourself out trying to do what only He can do. Slow down! Are you praying consistently, eating right, and resting enough? Remember, getting into the frame of mind to hear the Lord clearly might mean taking a long nap!