11/24/19 – “Worst Day Ever?”

Posted on : Nov 21st, 2019 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

I was trying to remember the worst day of my life and, to be honest, I can’t remember one.  Actually, I should say, just one.  There are a number of them that rank up there in the “worst” category.  Some were deaths of family members and loved ones.  Some were from broken relationships.  Some were from spiritual abuse by the Christian Church.  Some were from serious disappointments.

Fortunately, none of them has broken me or my spirit.  Some have come close, but God’s love and grace and the wonderful support (and humor) of friends and family have led me through those horribly painful times.

This Sunday we conclude our mini-series on the prophet Elijah.  Elijah is considered Israel’s greatest prophet.  One of the reasons I decided to include him in my last series of sermons is that Elijah is the best example of what a great prophet is.  When it comes to religion, most of us think of “great” as “perfect” or “strong.”  If that were the case, Elijah would not have made it into the “greats,” let alone, the greatest prophet in Israel.  Elijah is just like us:  he has his “ups and downs.”

This Sunday we will continue looking at Elijah’s story as told in I Kings 19.  In this story we find Elijah having one of, if not the, worst days ever.   He is emotionally and spiritually exhausted.  Elijah has been on the run, trying to out pace Jezebel’s militants who have one goal in mind:  to Kill Elijah.  Elijah had killed all the prophet of their God, Ba’al, and they were out for revenge.  After outrunning them, Elijah finally reaches the point where he just can’t go on.  He cries out to God, “Enough!!!  Enough!!! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!”  Some translations say, “It is enough.  Now take away my life, for I am not better than my ancestors.”

Elijah is just like us.  His life is filled with highs and lows, ups and downs.  In this encounter with him, he’s having one of the worst days of his life.  Just like us, he shouts to God, “Enough!”  But then something happens in the midst of Elijah’s agony.  He remembers the goodness of God and he discovers that God is with him, holding him, sheltering him, nourishing him, strengthening him and loving him.  That’s not only a wonderful realization; it’s a great message for us to remember as we celebrate thanksgiving.

There is a prayer we pray each Thanksgiving.  I love this prayer because it reminds us of the ups and downs in our life and faith. This Sunday we’ll join in praying these words:

We remember also our times of hurt, trouble and human struggle. 

For some of us, now is the time of pain and searching.

We give you thanks, O God, knowing that you will see us through all difficult times and lead us into the fullness of another day.

With gratitude beyond our ability to express, we give you thanks, O God, as we worship you with truly thankful hearts. 

AMEN.

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!

Dan

1 Kings 19:1-10

Ahab reported to Jezebel everything that Elijah had done, including the massacre of the prophets. Jezebel immediately sent a messenger to Elijah with her threat: “The gods will get you for this and I’ll get even with you! By this time tomorrow you’ll be as dead as any one of those prophets.”

When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far in the south of Judah. He left his young servant there and then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.

Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!”

He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep.

The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”

He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out. Nourished by that meal, he walked forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb. When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep.

Then the word of God came to him: “So Elijah, what are you doing here?”

“I’ve been working my heart out for the God-of-Israel,” said Elijah. “The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”

 

 

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