by Júlio Reis
‘I have had enough… I am the only one left.’ 1 Kings 19 (NIV)
Those are the words of Elijah. Some of them anyway – the rest is even more depressing.
Elijah, the mightiest prophet in the Old Testament. He who held off the rain for three and a half years. Elijah the wild camper, whose food was flown to him on ravens’ wings. He who rewarded the generosity of a poor family by making plentiful food appear out of nothing. Regarding the false prophets, let’s just say Elijah greatly reduced their number. He once even ran faster than a chariot! Elijah’s life reads like an uninterrupted list of achievements; 800 years on, the angels will still be talking excitedly about ‘the spirit and power of Elijah’ (Luke 1:17).
Elijah in this passage, however, is not feeling very positive. He is alone, despairing and depressed. His work is pointless: the people refuse to listen; they never will. To top it all off, the queen wants to take his life, and Elijah really wants to die – just not like that.
God’s response shows ways of helping a friend when they are feeling low:
- God reaches out to Elijah when he’s too depressed to go anywhere himself (1 Kings 19:5, 9);
- God gives Elijah specific tasks he can tick off (vv 5-6, 15-16);
- God speaks the truth to counter Elijah’s self-inflicted feeling of isolation: there are another 7,000 faithful, just like him (v 17).
That was the mighty Elijah. How about yourself? Have you ever felt like you’ve had enough? Are you the only one left? Caring for creation can sometimes seem a very lonely job: you look for people to join you, but no one comes. You understand how the care of creation is essential to worshipping the Creator – but maybe your church doesn’t. There’s so much to be done, but things seem stacked up against you. Maybe you should be doing something else – or nothing at all!
Do you know what works for me when I’m having my ‘Elijah moments’? Maybe it will help you, too. Look for the seven thousand. Seek inspiration in what others, including A Rocha, are doing around the world. We’re a large – and growing – family of organisations engaging communities in caring for creation.
Get your global connection in gear by reading A Rocha’s International Annual Review for a good overview of our family’s work around the world, particularly the emerging African Forest, Marine, and Theology & Churches global programmes. You can also browse the international website for stories of hope from around the world – the launch of Eco Church in New Zealand or A Rocha Kenya counting almost 700,000 waterbirds since 2000.
Get involved in the campaign to protect Atewa Forest Forest Reserve in Ghana. Internationally recognised as one of the highest priority ecosystems in West Africa for its high species diversity, high levels of endemism and great hydrological importance, the A Rocha family has been calling for its protection and invites you to learn about what’s happening, sign the petition, and pray.
Let’s beat those Elijah blues together. You are not alone!
This reflection was written by Júlio Reis for the Wild Christian email, ‘Nature and loving our global.’ Júlio is the webmaster of A Rocha International. He lives in Portugal with his wife and four children, where they’ve been starting a local A Rocha group for the last ten years.