“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). Reaching the end of our rope is like traveling through the valley of the shadow of death. Perhaps you have received a diagnosis where there is absolutely no hope for the future. Maybe you are not only sick, but you also have no way to pay your bills. Quite possibly your family is being torn apart or you have lost someone very dear to you. You have fasted and prayed, and there seems to be no answer, no way out. Then the enemy will plant thoughts in your mind to not trust God anymore, trying to convince you that He doesn’t hear you, that He is not by your side.
A number of us have probably felt so despondent that life did not seem worth living. Take heart in the fact that you are not alone. Ecclesiastes 11:8 warns us that there will be sorrow in every life, “But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many.” No one escapes those days of darkness. Even very godly men and women have felt total despair. Let’s take a look at some of the powerful men in the Bible who were so discouraged they wanted to die.
Remember Elijah in the Old Testament? Can you even think of another man in the Bible who had more evidence of God’s power in performing miracles? For example, in I Kings chapter 17, when there was a drought in the land and people were starving, Elijah found a widow woman and her son who were just about to have the last of their food supply, some flour and oil. Elijah asked the woman to make him a cake with it. Although she was sure she and her son would starve to death, that flour and oil supply never ran out until the drought was over. God worked that miracle through Elijah. Another miracle in his life was when that same widow woman’s son got sick, as it says, “there was no breath left in him” (I Kings 17:17). But through Elijah, God worked again and brought the boy back to life. Likewise, in I Kings chapter 18 we see that he called down fire from Heaven to consume the altar of Baal even after it had been drenched with water. He predicted a famine, and the Lord kept it from raining for 3 years, but after Elijah prayed for rain, it didn’t just sprinkle, God sent a torrential rain. So there was no doubt he was close to God, he could perform miracles, and God was working in his life. You would think he would be a pretty confident man, knowing what God could accomplish through him. But when Jezebel, the wicked queen of Israel, killed all the prophets in the land, she sent a messenger to Elijah and basically told him he was next. When Elijah heard this, he fled for his life, and after a day’s journey into the wilderness he became despondent and prayed, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers!” (I Kings 19:4). This great man of God, whom God used to perform many miracles, now wanted God to take his life, because of a woman’s threats!
Elijah isn’t the only godly man who despaired of life. I know this post hasn’t been very uplifting, but stick with me. We will look at others in my next posts and look at it from a spiritual perspective and actually get encouragement from these examples. In the meantime, keep Psalm 23:4 in mind.