Pastor Ben's Blog
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December 17, 2018, 12:08 PM

In the Wilderness

Have you ever been at a point in your life where you say, “I’ve had enough.  I just can’t take any more.”  The holiday season can be a very hard time for many people.  Don’t feel like this experience is unique to you.  Many people have times like this in their lives.  Not even biblical figures were immune to have bouts of depression in their lives.  Elijah is one of these characters.  Elijah had fought a good fight.  He had faith.  He had courage, but he was at the end of his rope.  He had just had enough.  I am sure most of us have been in a place where we just felt like we couldn’t take anymore.  Some of you are in a work situation where finally just the straw breaks the camel’s back.  You are like, “I just can’t take one more day there.”  Financially, you are trying to get a head and you are making progress, but then your car breaks.  Then, your washer breaks and your kid shoves a Lego up his nose.  Now, you are in the emergency room to get it removed.  You feel like you are in the wilderness.  

The wilderness is a dry, barren, and desolate place.  The wilderness tends to isolate us and we feel very alone.  One of the things that you think about when you think of the wilderness is wandering.  You feel like you are wandering in the wilderness.  You are wondering when the situation you are going through is going to be over.  You are stuck in a job and you are wondering, “Should I stay in this job or go back to school.”  You feel stuck in your housing situation and you are wondering, “Should I buy a house?  What if I get transferred?”  You don’t know what to do.  Maybe you are in a relationship and you have been dating for a while.  You are wondering, “Is this the right person for me?  Should I stay in this relationship?”  These times can be very disorienting.  They can make you feel lost.  You may even feel like no one knows what you are going through. You feel overwhelmed.  It was just like that for Elijah.  

Elijah experienced the power of God.  Elijah was brave and courageous.  He had stood up against King Ahab and told him that because of the nation’s sin, there would be no rain for 3 years.  God stopped the rain and Ahab wanted Elijah dead.  God protected Elijah and fed him by the ravens.  God used Elijah to raise a boy from the dead.  He called down fire from heaven.  450 false prophets were killed.  Elijah asked God to make it rain and he did.  Elijah experienced the power, protection, provision, and presence of God.  Then, Jezebel made a threat and he ran for his life.  Do you know what Elijah needed?  Do you know what you need?  What you need is spiritual replenishment.  What you need is an encounter with God.  What you need is to experience the grace, goodness, and presence of God.  You need spiritual replenishment.  

David wrote about this in the 23rd Psalm.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need. 2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quite waters. 3 He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3)

He renews my life.  He restores my soul.  You need God to renew you and restore you.  Here is the amazing thing about God.  You don’t have to run to him because he is already there.  He is already with you.  He is close.  If you are hurting right now, God is with you.

18 The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

God is near the brokenhearted.  He is close.  David said in Psalm 139 that there is nowhere you can go where God is not.  He’s close.  We enjoy God on the mountaintops, but we get to know him intimately in the valleys.  When we’re wandering in the wilderness and we feel like nobody understands; God understands and he cares.  He is always good.  

14 Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

He is God with us.

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