“Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” He said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”
Everyone has their breaking point. At some point, under the right circumstances, a man will say, “I’ve had enough.” Often when it comes, it is something of a surprise, and the sudden feelings of discouragement can be crushing, even to the point of wanting to die.
This was certainly the case with Elijah. He had handled the powerful king Ahab without any problem. He had confronted and routed the 450 prophets of Baal with ease. He had fearlessly challenged an apostate nation in the name of the Lord. There was no sign of a breakdown, no hint of impending emotional collapse. But, collapse he did.
It was Jezebel, a formidable woman with ferocious habits and far-reaching influence, who proved to be the last straw for Elijah. Jezebel made no attempt to have him killed, although it was undoubtedly within her power. She simply threatened him and gave him twenty-four hours to get out of town, which he did in a hurry.
I can only imagine why Elijah became so frightened. No doubt the years of tension had taken their toll. The emotional struggle with the priests of Baal would have drained the most resourceful person. The spiritual high of the mountain left him vulnerable to a spiritual low in the valley.
The sheer output of spiritual energy over an extended period had no doubt left him depleated. Then the physical strain of running before the king’s chariot could not have helped. Perhaps the straw that broke Elijah’s back was when God did no miracle to eradicate Jezebel, and Elijah realized that this enemy was not going away. She was his thorn in the flesh.
Finally Elijah lay down, disgruntled, dejected, and depressed, and announced that he was through. But the Lord cared for him tenderly and treated him to an unforgettable object lesson. God told Elijah to get up, get going, and get on with the job. That was just what he did—understanding at last that the Lord does mighty things through meager means and miserable men!
When Elijah said, “I’ve had enough!” he was ready to learn that God is enough. When he thought, “I can’t!” he discovered that God can. So his depression was not all bad. In fact, it was only as he sank lower that he was raised higher. I am learning that when I come to the place where I say, “I’ve had enough” God is about to work…and put me to work!