If you have not done so before, please review the Background on the Program
As you start to review this episode, please know that YOU matter. Regardless of what you are struggling with, regardless of the depths of your sorrows and regardless of how lonely you feel, the Good News is that YOU matter. I hope the message below nourishes you in the most meaningful way to comfort you and strengthen you to keep climbing into the ring to face your battles.
Episode #8: Highs and Lows
Today’s episode starts with a song from Bruce Springsteen, Glory Days.
Please spend a few minutes listening to any version you can find on the internet.
I hope you enjoyed that song. I am pretty sure we will have several of Bruce Springsteen’s songs come into this program over time. As a kid growing up in New Jersey, Bruce and the E Street Band were constantly on the record player. Bruce brings out a number of themes in his songs and Glory Days is no different. The one theme to support today’s topic is around how we all have experienced some “Glory Days” in our past and at some point in our journey, have also experienced some not so “glory days” where we do feel like “crying” as Bruce sings in the song.
As we look further into the ancient scriptures, we see that experiencing the Highs and Lows of life is a very common journey that even the greatest people in the history of ancient Jewish and Christian traditions have also experienced. One particular story is with the prophet Elijah as outlined in the book of 1st Kings Chapter 19, verses 1-18 (1 Kings 19:1-18).
The backdrop of the situation is that Elijah is one of the great prophets and defenders of the Jewish faith during a time where there was a great deal of division in the land of Israel. After King David’s reign, his son Solomon become King and others who followed slowly opened the door to some beliefs that were not fully aligned to the traditional Jewish law. Elijah found himself constantly battling believers that went against the laws of God that had blessed the Jewish people over generations in the Promised Land.
God gave great power to Elijah to defend the faithful. Elijah was strong and consistent in defending the faith against some incredibly difficult situations. One particular time (1 Kings 18), Elijah faced over 450 prophets of Baal, one of the belief systems that challenged the traditional Jewish faith during this time. Elijah kept his faith during this encounter and defeated all 450 prophets on Mount Carmel in Israel. To reference back to the song Glory Days, this was Elijah’s Glory Days. He had defeated these challenges and in today’s vernacular, we would say he was “on top of the world” as a defender of the Jewish faith.
As we see even in our own lives, we can have a tendency to go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. The great prophet Elijah was no different. After he defeated the 450 prophets of Baal, he received a threat from Jezebel who was a strong believer in Baal and also the wife of the current King of Israel. Jezebel said in 1 Kings 19:2 “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.” In essence, the queen threatened to kill Elijah like he just killed the 450 prophets of Baal.
Elijah, even after defeating 450 prophets of Baal and being praised by so many for his strength and faithfulness, ran scared after this threat and got very depressed, very quickly. He went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in one day. I am sure we can all relate to feeling great after some big event went our way and then when we receive one comment out of so many positive ones that was critical or threatening and we found ourselves “off the mountain top and down in the valley” very quickly.
Elijah found himself in a tough spot both mentally and emotionally. In 1 Kings 19:3-10 paraphrased below, we get a real sense of his state of mind:
“Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life…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.” Elijah felt all alone “I, even I only, am left.”
We are no different than the prophet Elijah. There are many times in our lives when we can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. It is a normal journey of life. We don’t always have a clear explanation as to how we got there, but the fact remains, we somehow find ourselves at a low point.
We eventually see in the story of Elijah, that he reconnects with his faith in God, gathers some much-needed strength, and continues on with his fight to defend the faith. Given the fact that you and I are still standing today, it should reinforce to us, that we have demonstrated the strength to recover from these low points and keep climbing back into the ring.
The message of Elijah’s highs and lows helps to reinforce that we are not the only ones that experience these incredible highs and incredible lows. Elijah experienced these high and lows in his defense of the Jewish faith. We can probably all relate to these highs and lows in our close relationships with a spouse/partner and our children. There are no easy answers to this journey, but one this is for sure, as God came on the scene to help Elijah gain some strength, God is there for us as well. Even if we did not realize it in the past, God’s loving arms of support picked us up to help us climb back in the ring to continue to fight…and God is there for us now in our struggles.
Take a moment to reflect on the following questions:
- When have I journeyed from some incredible highs into some incredible lows over the years?
- How did I keep moving forward when I hit those low points?
As you continue along in your journey, please remember that we all experience some highs and lows in our journey. We are not unique in this aspect of life. God promises to be with us during our journey. As God helped to strengthen Elijah, he is present now help us.
As you continue to reflect on the message, please take a moment to search the internet to find and listen to Kris Kristofferson singing, Why Me Lord?
How can I help you today? My mobile is 269-370-9275 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
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