Posts Tagged ‘alone’

Under the broom tree

Posted: July 28, 2012 in Fear, Hope
Tags: , , , , , ,

I have been reading a bit about Elijah recently. From the high of Mount Carmel he sank to the low of solitude under a bush in the desert, afraid and suicidal. Some people make a lot of the fact that he has forgotten God’s glory manifested on the mountain (see 1 Kings 18), and that he is wading in a mire of self pity. But I prefer to think of Elijah as overwhelmed, and depressed. He is clearly looking at the world through the wrong lens.

Yes, in some way, he has just been on that mountain top. But that didn’t mean that all his problems disappeared, and that Jezebel no longer wanted to kill him. The strain of the incident must have worn him down, until he could take no more, and then he just runs.

Basically, he fell into the trap that we can all fall into so easily. He got hungry (why the angel of the Lord gave him food), angry with the prophets of Baal, lonely (he thought he was the only person left who worshipped Yahweh), and tired. Fatal in his mind. So he prayed that the Lord would take away his life.

Luckily for us and him, that was not a prayer that God answered. He provided through food and water, and an experience that he would never forget.

So even heroes struggle sometimes. Even heroes get depressed and can’t see a way out of their problems.

But thankfully God can. And he does.

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Sometimes when I feel particularly insignificant, I wonder whether it really matters if I self-harm or not. I mean, who really cares if I have a few more cuts and bruises than normal? Yes, it hurts, but does that mean anything to anyone except for me?

I think I am in a slightly unique yet all-too-common situation of feeling like I am all alone. My parents don’t really get me, and sometimes my friends just feel too far away, or they don’t really know what is going on. Sometimes, it feels like I don’t really even have any friends.

I guess the standard answer to this is that God is always there, and He cares. Trite, yet true. But for me, it is because God is always there, and because He cares that other people care as well. The people I go to when I am in trouble or when I feel like I might do something that I will later regret do seem to care for some reason. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it might be because they love God themselves. They know that it is not His plan that I am hurting, and they seek to do all they can to help me not hurt.

I think it is also unhelpful to think that I don’t have any friends. Because I do. They might not be the stereotype you often see others with or in films where you spend all your time together and tell each other all your secrets and walk along arm in arm. But they are still my friends, and they would be hurt to know that I don’t consider them to be a friend.

So there are people who care on some level or other. And even when I feel like I just don’t care anymore and that I just want to hurt anyway, I know that I can’t lie to them. They care about me enough that they want me to get better and not just to stop hurting myself. They are wise enough to realise that they cannot show that they are disappointed if I do harm myself despite their best efforts, or to feel that it is in any way their fault that I have hurt myself.

And I think that that is what makes me contact them if I am feeling low. Somehow it is far easier to say something before than afterwards having to own up. Even if they can’t help. And getting a response from them makes me realise that someone does know and does care. Which is a constant reminder that God knows, and God cares.