Loved by God in the Middle of It All
Day 7 of Calm My Anxious Heart, Lord
“When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’ your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” (Psalm 94:18-19, ESV)
“Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.’ Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, ‘It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.’ And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.’ And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.” (1 Kings 19:1-8, ESV)
I’m not typically one to pull out Hebrew translations, but I love the depth of meaning behind the word “Hesed.” This is a loyal love. Hesed is a love that endures. The steadfast love of Christ has taken on a whole new meaning in this time of my life. Where I once stumbled into pits of despair, I now fall into His everlasting arms. There I find that He has loved and will love me, not despite my failures but through them. His love endures through the highs and the lows. His love endures through the failures and the successes. His love is steadfast in the storms.
With the truth of God’s steadfast love tucked firmly in our minds, let’s dissect the story of Elijah in the wilderness. I think this is one of the most powerful visuals in Scripture of struggling with mental health. Elijah has just been a part of one of the most amazing displays of God’s power. He is able to reveal the false god Baal for what he truly is and show the might and power of his One True God. What one would perceive as a momentous occasion quickly takes a turn for the worse. Jezebel is furious with Elijah and seeks to kill him, so in fear, he runs. Can you imagine how Elijah must feel? He’s alone, his efforts have failed in his eyes, and he’s running for his life. He has lost his sense of purpose, and fear has become his only companion. In his despair, he begs God for death. Enter God, stage left.
Now God reveals how He feels about those who are struggling mentally. He does not chastise Elijah. He does not ask him why he doesn’t trust His plans. Instead, the very first thing God does is allow him to rest. Then, God sends an angel with food, who simply says, “Arise and eat.” Elijah eats and is allowed sleep once more before the angel provides more food and sends him on his way. God met Elijah where he was with exactly what he needed. He allowed rest. He allowed a moment of peace for him to recover his strength. There was no shaming or judgment involved.
God knows your limitations. He knows when you are struggling. He knows how much you can handle and never gives you more. He sees you in the midst of the storm and meets your needs in His perfect time. In His infinite wisdom and abounding love, He provides for you in the deepest depths of anxiety. The thought is enough to bring me to tears. What a wondrous thing it is to be loved by God in the midst of it all. I hope that truth encourages you today. Let His love wash over your anxious mind, and bring peace to the depths of your soul.