November 20, 2017
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up(Galatians 6:9, NLT).
Friend to Friend
Some days I wonder if it will ever get easier. When we jump over one trial and just feel our feet adjusting to walking the path again, often a new hurdle emerges to overcome. I remember a time when life felt just like that.
For a year and a half our 13 year old daughter had battled alopecia and finally lost all of her hair. I mean all of it – eyelashes, eyebrows, arm hair, leg hair. Although I knew many worse diseases plague the children of other parents, dealing with wigs, handling sleepovers, and battling fake eyelashes were not the middle school drama I had anticipated. Yet God showed Himself faithful through every decision made and tear shed. I had just commented to a friend that it felt like we were finally adjusting and accepting Abby’s condition.
At the time, my Bible reading plan had me in 1 Kings with the story of Elijah on the mountaintop conquering the prophets of Baal and watching God show up to help and support him. I thanked God for our own climb from the valley to the mountaintop of blessing. Then my daughter’s identical twin came to me later that same day and lifted up her hair. A bald spot stared back at me and I wanted to scream. Of course I held it together and told her we couldn’t be sure what was happening yet. As the spot grew bigger and my daughter’s fears escalated over the next few days, I wanted to cry foul.
Some moments I was full of faith and hope knowing God would walk us through every step, and other times I wanted to say, “No. It’s not fair! We’ve had our share of hair loss. Thank You very much. Let some other parent learn these lessons.”
As I continued to read Elijah’s story in 1 Kings, I found lessons on spiritual stamina right on the heels of his mountaintop victory. Right after God’s amazing display, the queen of Israel, Jezebel, threatened Elijah’s life. You would think he would have no fear after what he just witnessed his God perform. Yet Elijah was human. He went out into the wilderness, sat under a broom tree, and said, “I have had enough, Lord” (1 Kings 19:4).
As a parent, I can relate to feeling like I have had enough - whether it’s alopecia, disobedience, sibling scuffles, or a baby that won’t sleep through the night. Reading through Elijah’s story, it didn’t seem like Elijah was running from death. He was running from life. One more problem to face. One more battle to fight. It never ends. Elijah claimed to be alone, justified in his complaint, and walked out into the desert to pout. Boy can we relate! Like Elijah we sometimes want to say, “I have had enough Lord.” When I got the news about my daughter’s second hair loss, I wanted to be alone to sulk. I didn’t call my friends or take some time to care for my soul. Then God used His powerful Word to encourage me. He responded to Elijah’s moping with these instructions:
- Get some rest.
- Eat some food.
- Go back the way you came.
- Find the others who serve me to support you.
God came to Elijah - not in a windstorm, earthquake, or fire, but in a still small voice. I was reminded that when an overwhelming problem rears its head, I needed to take care of myself with food and rest. I must remember God’s faithfulness through past difficulties and go back the way I came - trusting Him one day at a time. He also brought to mind the incredible people in my life who would pray, support, and help me walk this difficult journey.
We visited the same doctor’s office I knew all too well, but with a different twin this time. Since that day, her hair has all come back. She never had to wear wigs and experience the full extent of her sister’s experience. However, new opportunities for persevering keep coming in our family’s life, as I’m sure they do in yours.
So whether you’re facing another day of medical issues, difficulties at work, or the struggles of marriage or parenting, remember the lessons from Elijah to take care of yourself, surround yourself with godly voices, and listen for God’s still small voice.
Dear Lord, sometimes I want to quit like Elijah. Life can seem so amazing at times but pretty miserable at others. Help me to learn to take care of myself when trials cause me to feel weary. Help me to understand that my food, rest, and relationships can be your gifts to help me maintain stamina in difficult seasons. Give me wisdom to listen for your still small voice and get my strength from you to persevere through each new difficulty that comes my way.
In Jesus’ Name,