Advent in the Desert
by Stephen Green
January 2, Saturday – 34, 33; 1 Kings 19:1–8; Ephesians 4:1–16; John 6:1–14
(ESV Daily Office Readings Online)
In my time working in ministry/residential care, I’ve gotten to see some pretty amazing things! I’ve watched God work in unique and powerful ways and I’ve gotten to experience some incredible victories! Though often I found, after these victories, I experience a time of doubt and despair.
Why? I struggle with feelings of depression and lack of value.
In the 19th chapter of 1st Kings we see the aftermath of a major spiritual and political victory on behalf of Elijah. He called out the false prophets for who they were and discredited their false god. The king reported it all to mean ole Queen Jezebel and she was FURIOUS! She sent a flurry of texts letting Elijah know just how pissed she was and she let the threats fly! Then Elijah freaked out and drove away as fast as he could. Next thing we read is that Elijah is lost in despair and begging God to kill him. Talk about a bad day.
This head prophet, the main pastor, the metaphorical pope, the guy that should have it all together, is running for his life. He is so depressed that he is praying that God end his life, even though he just publically shamed the whole of Baal and his prophets.
Elijah falls asleep, and an angel wakes, telling him to pick himself up and eat. “Eat for the journey is too great for you.” He ate, and then started walking for 40 days.
We all go through seasons of doubts and despair. We just celebrated the grand festival of hope, but soon we will begin to feel the tug of sorrow and fear once again. We will question purpose and we will question our accomplishment and value. While we may not go to the point of desiring death, we will still cry out to God and ask “why?”, and when the time is right there will be an Advent and He will say, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.”
Though the celebration of the Great Advent comes to an end, if we look close enough we will find a dozen other “advents” throughout the year where God comes to our aid and meets us where we’re at. He gives us strength and helps us to keep going.
Hold on….the hope of Christ will always come at precisely the right moment.