Seek the lord

August 8, 2021

Elijah was believed to be the most powerful prophet in Israel at the time. God used him during a really important time in the history of Israel to oppose a wicked king and to bring about revival to the nation. Yet, like many other prophets in the bible, his life was not without challenges. There were times when he was decisive and valiant, and there were also times when he was fearful and uncertain. He recognized the power of God, but he also knew the pits of depression. Prior to the episode in today’s reading, Elijah had provided endless supply of flour for a widow, raised her son from the dead, and prayed for drought in the land. He had also called down a fire from heaven to consume the offering on Mount Carmel. In him, prophecy in Israel came to its peak. Yet, when God and the nation needed his leadership the most, an epitome of courage falls apart, turns suicidal. The threat from Jezebel and the prophets of Baal seemed to him, in that moment, to carry more weight than the unfailing providence of the Almighty. Many of us have also found ourselves in Elijah’s situation at one time or the other. Overwhelmed by the challenges of life, and so hard pressed that we tend to throw in the towel. Elijah’s experience teaches us that even the greatest among us is at best helpless without the grace and support of God. Jesus would repeat this eternal truth in today’s gospel when He refers to Himself as the bread of life; assuring us that whoever eats this bread will live forever. In that statement He re-emphasizes how essential it is to draw life from Him and to be rooted in God for, as the Psalmist reminds us, whoever takes refuge in Him is blessed. Elijah began to live again, to hope again, and to journey again, after he had eaten the meal provided to him by the angel of the Lord. As we face each new day and each new week, there are bound to be moments when we feel overwhelmed, and the temptation to despair so strong and so pervasive. We must, nonetheless, like the Psalmist, seek the lord, for he alone can deliver us from all our fears. Amen.

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