“I have had enough, Lord!”

I had every intention of writing a happy blog.

As I prayerfully discern what to write, I often find God leading me to speak to those navigating struggles.  Sometimes, however, I look back over the weeks and think, “is my writing too negative?  Are people going to grow frustrated at the lack of heartwarming content?”

So my plan was to be positive, and then several conversations made it clear today’s entry would not be that.

Here’s the thing: it doesn’t mean that it’s negative… it’s simple honest to the reality that many are facing.

In your life there are people who have shown immense strength in trial.  But then the trial continues; so they continue to show strength.

And they continue.

And they continue.

Until one day they become aware that they aren’t as strong as they once were.  They feel shame, or frustration, or fear, because while the strength is waning, the struggle is not.

And for many, there comes a point when — utterly weak and broken — they cry out, “I have had enough, Lord!”  And sometime, gently, God meets them there with, “I know, my child; now let’s keep going.”

Whether you see them or not, there are people around you that have been strong for so long, yet don’t know how to be strong any longer though God invites them to remain.

I felt led to share a chapter from “I have had enough!: How Elijah kept going when he had nothing left to give“; if this speaks to you, please comment or email us so we can journey with you in prayer!

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“I have had enough, LORD.”
How to persevere when you have nothing left to give.

When we meet Elijah in 1 Kings 17, he is deep into a life of serving God.  How deep?  At God’s prompting, Elijah confronted the worst king Israel had ever known.  He knew it could be a suicide mission, but so firm was his resolve to be God’s messenger that he did whatever God asked, no matter the cost.

He said what God said to say.  He went where God said to go.  He served who God said to serve.  His life was utterly shaped by listening for and obeying the God who had shown Himself as a powerful provider.

Yet Elijah was still human.  In his humanity he must have projected out how things would go as he obeyed invitation after invitation.  Would Israel return to God?  Would Ahab repent?  Would God reward him for his service?  We want to believe that when we serve God, things will eventually work out, and things appeared to be going that way for Elijah.  He saw the weather controlled, the false prophets humiliated, the True God shown as powerful, and the people saying “The LORD, he is God!

And yet, shortly after, Elijah prays for death, saying, “I have had enough, LORD.  Take my life.”

Maybe you’ve felt this level of brokenness.  You have given everything you had to do the right thing, only to find it all getting worse.  You watch as the best case scenario seems within grasp until it is shattered by the worst case scenario.  If you have been at the table long enough, and given enough of yourself, you can become defeated like Elijah: nothing left to give, and no hope things could work out.

We can’t blame Elijah.  The best case scenario was right there: in one brilliant display of God’s supremacy – when Baal’s altar remained untouched and God’s soaked altar set ablaze (1 Kings 18)  – Ahab and the Israelites could have repented and Elijah could have enjoyed a much needed break.  And let’s be honest: Elijah had earned a break.  In addition to all of his efforts that went unwritten, he devoted years to this dangerous mission for God.

Instead of a break, Jezebel vowed to kill him, and he went on the run until he could run no more.  All his efforts, all those years, seemed futile, and he felt of no value to God or his people.  He had persevered for so long, and he had finally had enough; there was no strength or resolve left to go on.

Do you resonate?  Have you poured yourself out until it seems there’s nothing left to give?  Have you invested years only to find things regressing?  Have you tried to honor God but the weight makes you want to give up?

Be encouraged: Elijah’s story did not end with “I have had enough”, and neither does yours; through Elijah’s journey we can learn how to persevere when we have indeed given everything and things seem to be worse, because the spoiler is this:

Even when we’ve had enough,

God is always Enough.

 

Related Comments

4 Responses

  1. Yes, this absolutely resonates with what I’m going through currently. I have literally cried out in the last few days “Lord, I have had enough! I have nothing left to give.” The world seems cruel and dark and in my humanness I can let that overtake me. But I know, because I have this hope as an anchor (Heb. 6:19), that the Lord is still working and will make all things right in His time. Thank you for this encouragement. May the Lord bless you!

  2. Wonderful! I like to know that I’m not crazy or that something is wrong to feel the way Elijah felt. Do not grow weary of doing good for in due season you will reap a harvest if you do not give up (Gal.6:9). When my tank seems to be running empty, it’s time to look to God. And that could change everything.

    1. I appreciate you naming that sometimes we can feel crazy or wrong for feeling at the end of ourselves. There is such a pressure to be “happy” that we forget that even Jesus lamented in the garden. Being honest about our limited human capacity is not wrong, and in fact is the only path to trusting God’s capacity; the bigger threat would be pretending like our own strength is sufficient! After all, His “power is made perfect in weakness”!

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