There are so many things that could inspire me to write something. My post this evening inspired by a true story of a pedestrian named Edward Payson Weston. He did several trips by walk in the several years and the longest traveling he did was in 1909. At the age of 70, he was walking along the 4000 miles from New York to San Francisco in a hundred days. It was a very remarkable achievement! A feat that may not be able rivaled by us who younger than him and of course it was a hard adventure! I strongly believe Weston experienced so many hard problems during his trip. In an interview he said: “There are times when my legs felt very sick. I almost gave up and stop this trip. The biggest problem that almost made me give up not feeling tired, not too very long distances up to 4000 miles, nor the blistering heat that grilling me, but instead of the sands that goes into the shoe makes me hard to kept walking. “
I am thinking about the journey of our life in this world. Our journey will be same with Weston’s journey. Often times we have to take a long, hard, and tiring journey. And in the journey we will face so many “stones”. We will face so many problems and obstacles, ranging from the little problems until the very hard one. Each of them has its own difficulties and at the one time we might come to a condition where we begin to tired, feel lost hope and wants to give up. Not just the severe problems that can make us give up but a small problem can make us lose the fighting spirit and prefer to wave the white flag. Like Weston who almost gave up because only grain of the sands in his shoes, similarly to us. We often defeated by the problems that may be relatively small compared to the pile of big problems that we’ve ever faced and won before. We often could successfully face the big stones, yet in fact we often stumbled with small pebbles but sharp enough to weaken us. Related with this issue, I remember the story of Elijah. We all know very well who Elijah is. He was one of the great prophets. Elijah referred as “the prophet of fire”, the prophets who brought down fire from Heaven and brilliantly defeated 450 Baal’s prophet. (1 Kings 18:20-40 NIV) He successfully proved that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel is the true God. With unwavering faith he prayed:
“Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command” (Verse 36)
In another chance, he was also successfully brought down the rain through his prayer so he also called as “The rain prophet”
Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (James 5:17-18 NIV)
Here we see that Elijah was a prophet who had an extraordinary firmness of faith. But, as James said, Elijah was still a human being who has weaknesses and limitations like us. We could see this thing when Elijah was threatened by Jezebel.
So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” (1 Kings 19:2 NIV)
Logically, if Elijah was successful defeat 450 the Baal’s prophet, Jezebel’s threat wasn’t enough to make him afraid. But the fact was, Jezebel’s threat was quite effective to make Elijah afraid! Elijah was so scared, loss of hope, and depressed. Here we see an anticlimax. After he proved the God’s power which was significantly came down through him, it turns out his soul depressed by Jezebel’s threat. His depression escalated and then He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1 Kings 19:4 NIV) Jezebel’s threat actually not comparable with the power of hundreds Baal’s prophets. Jezebel’s threat was a small pebble but precisely because of it Elijah stumbled, weakens him, and even wants to die.
When I really ponder this story, I got an important lesson. Through Elijah we can learn that when we are able and successfully overcome the big problems, we have to be careful with the small problems and don’t underestimate it. Please remember, devil never stop trying to break our faith with many ways. If the devil didn’t succeed destroying our faith through the big problems, then he will use other ways. Devil will do anything and use anything to tear down our faith, make us despair, give up, and always trying to blow out the light of our hope. Satan can make us so depressed and immediately forget about how Great God’s power and care to us and has been set us free from the big problems in the previous time. Moreover, as a human being who has weaknesses, we have to be careful and realize that devil can use our weaknesses to destroy our faith.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(Matthew 26:41 NIV)
In our lives we also often experience occurrence as experienced by Elijah. There are times the pressures repeatedly hit us, turns starting from the easy to hard pressure or even simultaneously hit us and it makes us getting tired and discouraged to keep fighting. Hope becomes faint, success looks getting far, and we begin to thinking to give up because no longer feel there is a hope. We might have problems in family, career, business, financial, or health problem. It all could make us depressed, scare, disappointed, and eventually could make us want to give up. The question is should we give up like Elijah who lifted up the pessimistic prayer? The answer is, No! We shouldn’t give up! Because why? Just because, praise to the Lord we have an outstanding Father’s figure who really cares. He doesn’t want us to end up like that. God will never be silent and stand idly to see us wracked by difficulties. Jesus, His only son who has been given to us was a real proof how He is the God who really cares and loves us. If for our eternal salvation God is so concerned, why we have to doubt about His caring to the life problems that hit us? Obviously God wants us always living in hope. It is written in Hebrews: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 NIV) Yes! God is faithful to His promises. He never breaks His promises. As long as we always have hope in Him, there is no problem that cannot be solved because God is the source of hope for us.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13 NLT)
Indeed, if we rely on our own limited strength, it will be so difficult. But please don’t forget that we have God who the source of strength.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1 NIV)
My beloved readers, There are times we successfully jump over the big stones but we even stumbled by a small pebbles’ attack but quite sharp to weaken us. There are times we even stumbled into a situation that is actually simpler than the hard faith struggle that we have won, but successful make us afraid, depressed, and want to give up. This evening let me encourage all of us, no matter how small or big our problems, no matter just pebbles or big stones that we face, never give up! God will always give us the way out and not matter big or small our problems and trials will not more than of our strength, as God’s word said:
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)
Don’t ever to be afraid and dismayed! Because we have God who has unlimited power and He will strengthen and help us to overcome every problem.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)
Keep stand firm in hope with the power of Holy Spirit and keep the light of our hope still shining. If previously we already feel His help and experience the God’s power and miracles overcoming any of our problems, it means God will remain help us in the future. He never changes now and forever and He is the faithful God. Amen.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
(Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV)
Karina – Living by faith
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