First Reading: 1 Kings 19:4-8
One Reason to Believe in God
4 Elijah went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough. Now, O YHWH, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.”
5 He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat!”
6 He looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on the coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. 7 The angel of YHWH came again the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”
8 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.
World English Bible
People have many reasons to believe in God. There are just as many reasons to stop believing: 1) cultural indifference and skepticism, 2) a feeling of personal abandonment by God and others (i.e., the Church or family), or 3) hostility toward public display of religious activity. All three are common in our day; Elijah also experienced these reasons.
In this reading, Elijah was on the run from Queen Jezebel for preaching against idolatry in Israel. He was alone, for no one cared to hear his message, even after the signs God performed through Elijah. And, he was spiritually tired to the point of despair; he even prayed for death. Yet, through an angel, God gave him strength to continue his journey and his mission.
Daily trust in God is a chief reason to believe. But, what can we do when the pressures of daily living overwhelm this trust? What can we do when we want to give up? Elijah's answer was prayer and openness God's will. With prayer and an open heart, we, too, will be strengthened by God for our faith journey.
How has prayer and openness to God's will helped you through the tough times? How has God brought you back when the tough times caused you to give up on faith?