Is the Journey Too Great for You?
By Jill Briscoe
Stuart and I were in Uganda on the last day of a two-week ministry trip. It was my birthday, so Stuart treated me to a night in a hotel and a great meal. We enjoyed a lovely evening together. Later that night I began to be thoroughly ill. Long story short, I spent a miserable night and finished up passing out at the checkout counter at the airport. I was rushed by ambulance to a Ugandan clinic, missed the flight and got out of the country three days later!
Thoroughly depleted, I arrived in the UK for half of our short vacation time. Time to regroup? Time to snuggle up and read? To do that Bible study I hadn’t taken time to do? Quality time to spend with God as I was forced to stay down? That’s easier said than done.
It has been my experience at such times that I can’t do anything but check out and mend. And that’s all right. When Elijah was on his face under his proverbial broom tree in 1 Kings 19:4, the Lord came Himself, cooked him breakfast, and said gently, “The journey is too great for you, take a break!”
Nobody finds taking a break harder to do than I do. But I have discovered that I need to nourish my soul when things are in good shape, and not wait until things are falling apart. We should be like camels, storing resources up in our spiritual humps to nourish ourselves in advance for when we find ourselves in a desert wasteland. Too often I am like a flat camel! Not good. So I try and fly to God when there is sunshine and flowers in my life, to cling to Him when I’m feeling strong, to nurture my soul when I’m fit and well, and to spend much time in secret when I’m being most productive. This requires a lot of discipline. Most of us wait until we are in trouble before we resort to prayer, like the college kid who only calls home when out of cash.
When you are in crisis, let others nourish you. Allow someone to cook you breakfast like the angel of the Lord did for Elijah. Lean on your family, close friends, and church at such times. It’s hard to be a receiver when you are a giver, but learn the skill of graciously saying, “Thank you, I needed that!” It’s all right to let it happen to you instead of you always making it happen for others.
I am not saying don’t read your Bible or pray. In fact, I put my head on a pillow of promise from the Word of God and sleep on it. But if, as in Elijah’s case, “the journey is too great for you,” rest in the fact that He knows, He has provided the right nourishment for you, and He wants you to receive His gifts of grace at such times.