Illness comes in many forms and many lengths. Some illnesses can be plowed right through without missing a beat, but others take a little longer to recover from. In the following story of Elijah, we learn God’s prescription for healing in Elijah’s life.
I Kings 19 tells the story of Elijah running from Jezebel when she threatened his life. Imagine the stress and emotional turmoil he was under because his life had been threatened. His adrenaline was probably pumping through his veins as he ran a day’s journey into the wilderness fleeing from Jezebel’s threat. He had done much for the Lord at this point in his life and was probably exhausted from the constant service and fight against the evil that surrounded him. By the time he ran the day’s journey and finally sat down under the juniper tree, more than likely suffering from severe adrenal fatigue, he was spent emotionally and physically and just ready for it all to end. Depression and discouragement had set in because of his predicament and Verse 4 says that he told the Lord, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life;…”
But the Lord was watching over him and knew what he needed. Verse 5 says, “And as he lay and slept..” Sleep….beautiful sleep! The thing we all need and we all lack especially at times of great emotional and physical stress. Even at times when we think we are sleeping, we may not be really resting. But Elijah was so asleep that in that same verse God sent an angel to wake him up so that he could do the next thing needed for his recuperation….food. Verse 6 tells us that the angel cooked for him, “And he looked, and behold there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head: And he did eat and drink…” The last of that verse says, “…and laid him down again.” More rest! Verses 7&8 says, “And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat…” He then went on to Mt. Horeb and in verse 9 it says, “And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there…” He was able to make a small journey to his next resting place…an uninhabited cave, away from others, on the mountain where he could commune with God and heal. Verse 11 says, “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.”
At this point in the story it says that a great strong wind rent the mountains and broke the rocks into pieces, there was an earthquake, and a fire….”but the LORD was not in the wind…the earthquake…the fire…” During all of this danger, Elijah was safely tucked into his cave waiting on the Lord. Verse 12 says, “…and after the fire a still small voice.” Only when Elijah was still and quiet after the danger he heard the still small voice of God and was able to wrap himself in his mantle and go to the door of the cave. Before this, he was not ready physically or emotionally to exit the cave and enter the world again.
I don’t know how long a time this story took, but I’m guessing it took longer than a few days for Elijah to regain enough physical, emotional, and spiritual strength to face what the Lord had for him next. Sleep, eat, and rest! Sleep, eat, and rest! Sleep, eat, and rest! That was the prescription that God wrote for Elijah in his time of great stress and weakness. Even when he had strength to move to the next phase, God’s instructions to him were to find Elisha and start training him. God knew that Elijah still had work to do, but that he would need Elisha to help him.
Sleep, eat, rest, and let others pick up your mantle while you heal. No matter if it takes a few days, a few weeks, or a few months…in the grand plan of life, what is a few months compared to eternity! You will come out stronger in the end and ready to charge hell with a squirt gun!