Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Your journey to wellness is a Three-Act Drama

Monthly theme: Daily Healing

Reading time: two minutes

Your Sunday School teacher only gave you part of the story. You probably only heard Act One of Elijah’s journey to wellness. The whole story is a three part journey to the joy of ministry.

The First Act could be titled, “Ministry is Fantastic.”

It plays out like a dream come true for people in ministry. The prophet challenges the prophets of Baal to a showdown on Mount Carmel. God hears his prayer. Fire falls from heaven. A tremendous, almost unbelievable victory for the kingdom!

I suppose it’s in the best interest of very young Christians that our Sunday School teachers didn’t continue on to Act Two. Little ones ought not hear about the Lord’s prophet curled up under the broom tree, wishing that he were dead.

But it ought to be required reading for everyone in ministry. Don’t stop at the end of 1 Kings 18. The story spills over and continues with Act Two in chapter 19.

The title for Act Two could be “Ministry is Frustrating.”

Anyone who has followed the call into a church work vocation discovers much sooner than later that even our best and most encouraging days in ministry are often followed by what Elijah experienced: conflict, betrayal, exhaustion, discouragement, and loneliness.

I don’t think 1 Kings 19 is included in the scriptures for the little children to read in Sunday School.

I absolutely believe that God wants you to hear Him say, “You’re not the only one!”

Most church workers report at the end of their careers that they experienced at least one significant season of frustration and discouragement that led them to consider leaving ministry entirely.

Many of us have found that hardly a week goes by where we don’t feel at least a little bit of Elijah’s frustration.

And because we are always subject to our own infirmities, subjected to the assaults of the evil one, and subjects of a fallen world, we need the Lord’s gift of daily healing and renewal by grace.

Act Three of Elijah’s story could be called, “Ministry is Fueled by Faith.”

In Elijah’s lowest moment, God appeared and sent him back out into the fray with the most beautiful and encouraging words in the entire drama, “Go back the way you came.”

From the mountaintop to the broom tree and back out into a life of ministry, fueled once again by the joy of the Lord.

When Elijah needed it most, God came and refreshed him with a Word of hope offered in a small, quiet whisper. “You’re not alone. The promises of your God do not change. I AM with you. Seven thousand surround you. Elisha will be your friend. The kingdom advances. And I have work for you to do.”

And your Lord Jesus has the same word of encouragement for you every day. You are not alone. God is with you. You’re surrounded by thousands who are your friends.

And God’s kingdom advances as you “Go back the way you came” day by day, trusting in His promises.

Healed. Renewed. Relying on His mercy alone.

God bless your journey to wellness.

Thanks for reading.