Disheartened and Discouraged
On March 14, 2020, Wisconsin closed its prisons to all visitors and volunteers because of the Covid-19 virus. The prisons stayed closed for nearly sixteen months which meant there was no in-person contact from family, friends, a home pastor or even an IM Chaplain. This had to be an especially disheartening and discouraging time for all the men and women living inside those facilities.
Following the showdown on Mt Carmel where the Lord had proven beyond any doubt that he alone is the one true God, the prophet Elijah struggled through an especially disheartening and discouraging time as well. When wicked Queen Jezebel discovered that all 450 of her false prophets had been put to death, she threatened to put Elijah to death. Fearing for his life, Elijah fled, traveling from Mt. Carmel in far northwestern Israel to Beersheba at the southern-most edge of Judah. After that, he traveled a day’s journey south of Beersheba! There, Elijah sat down under a broom tree and prayed, “I’ve had enough, Lord. Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” (1 Kings 19:4 EHV)
What did God do for Elijah? How did God help him through this disheartening and discouraging time of his life? Twice he provided bread and water and time to rest. And then the Lord encouraged his frightened prophet. He encouraged Elijah not with an earthquake or fire, but with his soft, whispering voice.
When the struggles of life, with all its problems, difficulties, and heartaches, cause us to feel disheartened and discouraged, God is also there to encourage us. He provides the “bread and water of life” through the soft, whispering voice of His Word. At such times, we too, like Elijah, need to listen to the Word of God. When our sinful nature, the sinful world around us and Satan try to make us think that life is overwhelming, we need to recall those familiar words: “for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,” and remember what it means — God loves me!
Chaplain Charles Iles