Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers” Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, ‘Get up and eat.’ Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again.” 1 Kings 19:4-6 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Accept the downtime as a gift.”
Elijah was a great man of God, a powerful prophet, and he was busy, busy, busy with lots of important things to do. In 1 Kings chapter 18 we find him involved in a major confrontation with the evil king Ahab and 450 priests of the pagan God Baal. It was a titanic spiritual battle that lasted all day and which Elijah finally won. All 450 priests of Baal were defeated and executed, and the crowd of people observing the contest acknowledged that Jehovah is the One True God.
By the time that was all over Elijah was spent. He was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually drained. In 1 Kings 19:4-6 (above) we then find that he ran away from life and was hiding in a cave in the desert. He was depressed and dejected and ready to throw-in-the-towel. So, God sent an angel to minister to him there in the quietness of his seclusion. Elijah ate and slept and prayed. Then he ate some more and he slept some more and then he was revived (proving once again that sometimes the most spiritual thing a person can do is to take a nap!)
In 2015 the Korean-German philosopher Byung-Chul Han wrote a book entitled “The Burnout Society”. Based upon an exhaustive study of western society, Han concluded that our hectic and pressured-filled lifestyles have brought us to the point that we are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted “all the time”. Yes, pretty much all the time. That has become our state of being. Han wrote, “They are too alive to die, and too dead to live.” Ow! Anyone feeling that?
As we all continue to contend with the social distancing, isolation, and even mandatory “stay at home” orders that have been implemented in many places as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, it would be easy to view it all in a negative light. Yes, it is inconvenient. True, the kids are missing school and adults are missing work. Many people are suffering serious loss of income. Many others have no idea what to do with themselves now that they have all this time on their hands.
But I want to encourage you to redeem the time. Embrace the change of pace. In some respects, this downtime might be good for you. Get a full night’s sleep for a change. Relax. Exercise more. Read some good books. Pray. Read your Bible more. Maybe, as a society, in some way, we actually needed this downtime. Maybe in the long run it will bring about some good changes in the way we all live. Granted, that still doesn’t mitigate the bad impacts of the pandemic, but it does help us to see that there can be some good that comes out of the bad. This is happening to you whether you like it or not. So, look for the good and embrace it. Redeem the time. Accept it as a gift.