Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, themountainofGod. – 1 Kings 19:1-8 (NIV)
Taking on hundreds of false prophets, running faster than a chariot and challenging a powerful and evil king are things a hero does, and Elijah is definitely a hero. Scripture doesn’t tell superhero stories, just stories. No embellishments or edits to avoid embarrassment. As heroic as Elijah had been, he was a real person with real fears. He still needed God.
One of the worst things we can do to our children is only let them see us win. God lets us in on Elijah’s low points. He doesn’t try to cover them up or wash them over to make Elijah out to be someone he’s not. If all our children ever see or hear about us is the successes or victories, we are not preparing them for the low points. Even Elijah had to regroup and overcome his fears, and God met him in that moment and provided what Elijah needed.
Life will overwhelm us from time to time. We will be faced with a situation that will challenge our limitations and put us on the ropes. We need to be confident in those moments that God is with us and to allow our children to walk through those moments by our side. They need to see us at our wounded worst and watch us get pulled to our feet by the grace and mercy of God. They need to know that there is a way forward from failure and a path from brokenness to wholeness. Elijah’s life took him from a faceoff with false prophets to huddling in fear under a broom tree, but God did not leave him there, and He won’t leave us in our brokenness either.
Lord, help me to live honestly before my children. May I find the courage to let my children see my weakness and in the process discover Your strength. Give me strength for each day to face my fears and lead my children toward courage. Amen.
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