Elijah was one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament– fearless at times, yet fearful other times. He was a man of God, but human like the rest of us. (See James 5:17).
After one of his greatest victories, Elijah found himself full of fear. No longer running sacred but running scared, Elijah went into hiding. He went into the wilderness a day’s journey, sat down under a juniper tree, and called it quits. (See I Kings 19:4-8.)The key to our future is within our relationships with God, our pastor, and our church. Click To Tweet
Yet Elijah’s location is interesting. Known as “the broom tree,” the juniper tree’s qualities are shade, fragrant and lasting embers, and beautiful white blooms. In some ways that suggests it is a tree of rest, renewal, and hope. We all need the Spirit of God to renew us, to sweep us clean from time to time. Even great men and women of God get discouraged. Consider Elijah, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist. Even Jesus, in His humanity, groaned, sighed, wept, and also prayed “not My will, but Yours, be done.” Great men and women of God are not immune from depression, fear, and anxiety. We are all human. We are all subject to like passions as these. The answers to our trouble are found in the presence and Word of our great God.
Sitting under the juniper tree, the man of God, Elijah, had had enough. Perhaps it sounded like this: “I’m done, God! Are you done with me here? Do I still have it? Why am I not more effective? I thought I would be further down the road than this by now! This was not supposed to happen to me! Does anyone know what I’m going through? Does anyone really care?”
Wilderness thinking can do strange things to us. It can cause us to feel like the words of the weeping prophet Jeremiah, “a spoiler at noonday” and “her sun is gone down while it was yet day” (Jeremiah 15:8-9). In other words, sometimes discouragement makes us feel like we’ve been broken, hindered, destroyed, or crushed in our prime.
As Elijah sat under the juniper tree discouraged, depressed, and depleted, he fell asleep. An angel of the Lord touched him and told him to arise and eat. He did and then fell asleep again. The angel touched him a second time and instructed him to arise and eat again because the journey was going to be too great for him without it. So, Elijah ate again. He then went on the strength of that touch and meal for forty days and nights!
A Second Touch from Heaven
Sometimes we all need a second touch from Heaven. We all need spiritual food. The journey is too great for any of us on our own. This is also true for the men and women of God in our lives. Leadership and ministry can be lonely.
It’s easy to hear powerful messages and see demonstrations of Apostolic ministry from the men and women of God in our lives. However, we should never forget that sometimes there is also discouragement, tears, fears, and brokenness we may never see. Wilderness. Sitting under juniper trees. Fears. Loneliness. Exhaustion. Weary of the spirit of our age that hungers for power. Churches are not immune. It takes a God-called and God-sent man or woman to keep these things at bay and in order as the Holy Spirit leads.
Sometimes the man or woman of God needs alone time, rest, a good meal, a touch, and a word from Heaven. Sometimes they need a second touch of the same. Ultimately God will take care of them and keep them going.
Your pastor is a gift from God to you and the church
Your pastor is a gift from God to you and the church.
- “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding “(Jeremiah 3:15).
- “And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:4).
- See also Acts 20:18; Ephesians 4:11; and Philippians 1:3-10.
Chancy Gore: Bishop | The Refuge Church of the Lake Cities | Wylie, Texas
Resources and Links
The Art of Pastoring: The Art of Pastoring is a collection of essays that reflect on the contours of pastoring a Pentecostal church in the twenty-first century. Written to honor Tim Dugas, all of the contributors to the collection have spent a period of time as a member of a church he has pastored. Geared toward young or aspiring pastors this book combines years of valuable experience with godly advice to create a tool that will greatly benefit young leaders.